Posted by: christinelaennec | October 18, 2011

Public expenditure

This summer, I had the rare opportunity to do some filing at the office.  And I came across this, which made me want to laugh and cry at the same time:

This is where our taxes go! (Or went, at any rate, a few years ago.)

As you can see, it’s a CD about “Student Progression and Transfer” or SPAT.  Presumably this would be “spat” in the Fred Astaire sense.  It was produced by the “Fund for the Development of Teaching & Learning”.  Sadly, it’s typical of a number of things I’ve encountered in the world of UK Higher Education.

The current austerity measures, which have resulted in all our bins being taken away from our offices for example, are perhaps a good idea in some instances.  Michty me, as they say in the Broons!

Thank you to everyone for such hugely supportive comments and thoughts for our family.  Michael and I appreciate them enormously, and I’m sure they do the Dafter good as well!



  1. It’s interesting that a university teaching & learning program has also recently been axed here in Australia, and similarly the mourning has not been universal.

    AND I heard someone say that her university office bins were about to be targeted in some new rationalisation program too! Clearly Britain is setting the agenda for higher education “reform”

  2. Wow, that’s a new one to me! We seem to have escaped SPAT in my place, perhaps because we were busy at that point with a major curriculum reform. I have now worked in university administration long enough to have seen several cycles of bright ‘new’ ideas. As the Bible says in Norwegian, ‘det er ikke noe nyt under solen’.
    No bins here either, but because of the sustainability agenda. We have departmental colour coded bins – 3 types – which means that there are queues of people studying the long lists of what goes in each. I suspect they all end up in Chinese landfill.
    I remember the first round of austerity cuts at Aberdeen in the 1980s, when all the phones were removed from staff offices one day, leaving just one phone in the departmental secretaries’ office.

  3. I was seconded to work on a project, in 2002, that ran well into six figures. They kept me on for an extra six months, to oversee some last minute changes. The project was completed, apparently to everyone’s satisfaction. In less than a year, it was scrapped in favour of reproducing in a different format. Like you, Christine, I could cite so many examples.

  4. Would it be controversial to suggest you had your bin taken away because you were producing too much rubbish?!
    You know I am only kidding… it was definitely part of the sustainability agenda 😉

  5. Dear All,

    How very interesting! I didn’t know that the lack of bins was so widespread, and that Australia had to choose between floods and teaching & learning programmes. I would say they made the right choice, although obviously it wasn’t my job that got the chop. Linda, I had heard of the phone disappearance day, but always thought it was the stuff of myth! Martin, I can imagine your scenario only too well. How depressing for you. And Roobeedoo, thank you for giving me a really good laugh. Producing rubbish, moi? I spent the afternoon confecting badly constructed argumentation for students to dissect!

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