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The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Robert Gordon University (RGU) have published a joint report on lessons learned following the exceptional set of circumstances which RGU encountered in the lead up to and following the departure of former Principal, Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski.

The lessons learned exercise has been jointly led over the past three months by Martin Fairbairn, the Scottish Funding Council’s Chief Operating Officer and Sylvia Halkerston, a member of RGU’s Board of Governors.

Today’s report looks at both governance and compliance policies and procedures with the aim of improving guidance available to individual institutions in Scotland and informing future good practice across the sector.

The report makes eight recommendations including that:

  • Universities should proactively publish information about principal-level settlement agreements.
  • Universities should consider developing resilience plans to guide senior decision makers through exceptional events such as those experienced by Robert Gordon University.
  • RGU should consider reviewing its internal guidance about the approach to be taken in the circumstance of anonymous allegations relating to senior personnel.

Martin Fairbairn said: “The lessons learned report gives a clear account of events surrounding the departure of Professor von Prondzynski and incorporates the insights of key stakeholders. It also puts forward important points for consideration and the Scottish Funding Council will be looking to universities to incorporate these into future good practice.”

Mike Fleming, Chair of the Board of Governors at Robert Gordon University, said: “The report confirms that the Board of Governors was rigorous in adhering to the University’s governance policies and procedures and following the Scottish Code of Good Higher Education Governance.

“As an institution we constantly seek to achieve excellence in governance and identify any areas our approach can be enhanced. We will embrace the recommendations set out in today’s report, working collaboratively with other Scottish universities to share good practice.