London Metropolitan University has dismissed claims that it is embarking upon "privatisation".
The university is currently tendering for an industry partner to take over most of its back office and campus management functions. Over the summer London Metropolitan has whittled its bidders down to a shortlist of three: Wipro, BT Global Services and Capita
The resulting partnership could then share its services with other universities, taking advantage of last autumn's changes to VAT rules. The move is intended to cut London Metropolitan’s administration costs by up to 50%.
But the university will retain control of its teaching, buildings and other assets, leading a spokeswoman to describe claims the deal amounted to "privatisation" as "inaccurate".
She described the process as a "shared services procurement", adding that it was intended to "improve the way the university is run".
Writing in the Times Higher Education last January, vice chancellor Professor Malcolm Gillies described the proposal as "a rapid, across-the-board re-engineering of up to 70 administrative functions".
"We reckon that we, like many other universities, spend too many pence in every pound on cumbersome, legacy administrative services," he added.