A quango boss has said she is “not aware” of any payments to other Scottish higher education chiefs which are “similar” to the one being probed at Aberdeen University.
Karen Watt, chief executive of the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), made the remark in correspondence with North East Labour MSP Lewis Macdonald.
The SFC, which oversees university funding and governance, is currently investigating a £282,000 payment to Sir Ian Diamond, the former principal of Aberdeen University.
Sir Ian was paid the money for working his year-long notice period – despite retiring in the same month that the notice period was activated last year.
Mr Macdonald had written to the SFC asking if it would consider expanding the remit of the inquiry to see if there was a “wider culture” of such payments at universities in Scotland.
However, Ms Watt has now responded to the MSP, ruling out a larger investigation.
She said: “The review will focus on the payments made to the former principal of the University of Aberdeen on his leaving office as shown in the university’s annual financial statements. At this stage we do not intend to widen that remit.”
Ms Watt highlighted the “lesson’s learned” review into Ferdinand von Prondzynski’s departure from his principal role at RGU last year, and said: “That aside, we are not aware of any recent similar issues at other institutions in Scotland.
“I should like to give you my assurance that SFC recognise the importance of good governance in this area and it will therefore remain an important part of our institutional monitoring.”
Last night, Mr Macdonald said: “I’m pleased that the SFC have assured me that there have not been any other issues. If there were, I would expect them to look into them.”