Magazine article Times Higher Education

Pounds 2m Divorce: Partnership Failure Hits London Met: News

Magazine article Times Higher Education

Pounds 2m Divorce: Partnership Failure Hits London Met: News

Article excerpt

Minutes reveal huge write-off and continuing dispute with LSBF. David Matthews reports.

London Metropolitan University lost Pounds 2 million after a partnership with a private college collapsed, it has emerged, and as recently as last month was seeking more than Pounds 750,000 in a continuing dispute with the institution.

In April 2012, London Met announced that it would validate business courses and sponsor international students at the London School of Business and Finance.

But in December 2012 the deal was abruptly terminated, partly because the previous August the Home Office had stripped London Met of its licence to sponsor international students.

Minutes of a senior management meeting at the university, leaked to Times Higher Education, show that after the collapse of the partnership, a deed of settlement was signed "and a write-off of Pounds 2m taken".

Despite this, "the dispute with LSBF continues", say the minutes of the meeting, held on 7 August this year and chaired by Paul Bowler, the university's deputy chief executive.

"Two invoices of Pounds 327k and Pounds 429k have been issued but no payment has yet been received from LSBF," the minutes say.

Malcolm Gillies, London Met's vice-chancellor, who negotiated the original deal, had attempted to resolve the "payment situation", the minutes explain, "but with no success to date".

"The next step is likely to be litigation to recover the amounts owed," they add.

The Pounds 2 million write-off came in December 2012, the same month that London Met announced it would cut 40 per cent of the staff and three-quarters of the courses at its business school in an effort to save money. …

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