£9m estates debt means 20 staff must go

Imperial College wants to cut 20 staff out of its total estates workforce of 360 in an attempt to rein in the department’s £9million deficit.

The college’s director of estates, David Brooks Wilson, has written to all staff in his department — which has an annual budget of £28million and has a further £125million a year to spend on new buildings — asking for 20 voluntary redundancies. Mr Brooks Wilson, who recently took on two assistant directors of estates — Steve Howe from Tate Modern and Nick Roalfe from Marks and Spencer — has also asked staff to keep maintenance to a minimum… a policy which is already apparent to those concerned about the condition of Wye College where many buildings are in a poor state of repair and some have the appearance of being abandoned.

Particularly shocking is the state of Coldharbour, a once fine building which is now leaking and covered in mould with evidence of damp penetration. The building is empty although workmen recently ‘gutted’ parts of it and dumped many items — including the entire library of a former principal — in a skip.

David Wilson

David Brooks Wilson: trying to
reduce deficit of £9million

Mr Brooks Wilson is asking for voluntary redundancies across all of Imperial Estates operations. The terms are six months salary in lieu of notice and there will be compulsory redundancies if 20 people do not come forward.

Howe and Roalfe
Cutting costs: Nick Roalfe and Steve Howe

Mr Howe and Mr Roalfe were appointed by Mr Brooks Wilson in September. Mr Howe has responsibility for projects while Mr Roalfe is in charge of property services. At the time of their appointments, Mr Howe said: ‘Funding is one of the biggest challenges. I hope to bring my experience of having worked for a company such as Marks and Spencer to Imperial. Similarities include having to get the best value within set budget constraints, and ensuring the activities are customer focused. We need to channel funding into strategic, business critical areas bringing the best service we can to the end user.

‘I hope I’ll be able to make my mark here. I want to bring a better quality of service for the areas I am responsible for and I hope people will appreciate what I’m trying to achieve. I am currently trying to turn every stone to see how we can do things more efficiently, but we can’t just do this overnight. I am also looking forward to working closely with Steve as we have the chance to see processes through right from the beginning, offering a cohesive approach.’


About David Hewson

Professional novelist, published in more than 20 languages. Creator of the Nic Costa series set in modern Rome, Pieter Vos in Amsterdam, adaptions of the Sarah Lund stories in Copenhagen, and versions of Shakespeare worked for Audible.
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One Response to £9m estates debt means 20 staff must go

  1. Gertrude says:

    no doubt the scaffolding on the (award-winning!) College library is helping swell the £9m debt in its own small way.

    how long has it been there? as long as the ‘temporary’ traffic lights on the bridge? or is it itself an example of modern design? possibly ‘installation art’…. who knows.

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