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Edge Hill University managers found guilty of fraud

20 October 2017

Commenting on guilty verdicts handed down to two Edge Hill University managers, UCU said the university had serious questions to answer about its governance structures.

Dean of the Faculty of Education Robert Smedley, 52, of Grange Farm Crescent, West Kirby, Wirral, was found guilty of five counts of fraud. Christopher Joynson, 34, of Clocktower Apartments at Bamburgh Castle, Northumberland was found guilty of four counts of fraud. They will be sentenced on Monday 30 October. 

UCU general secretary Sally Hunt said: 'This case highlights serious questions that the senior management of Edge Hill University have to answer over governance - something UCU has raised concerns about in the past. 

'Any attempt by the university to portray itself as the victim in this case would be wholly inappropriate. The real victims are taxpayers, students and staff, and the whole sorry episode brutally exposes how a lack of transparency in universities can leave them vulnerable to fraud.

'Staff and students will want to know how this was allowed to happen. Why were there not the proper financial checks in place to stop it happening? How was someone paid a full salary and allowed to put in bills for consultancy work at the same time?

'The senior management of the university need to answer these questions and be held to account for such significant financial irregularities, which happened on their watch. They need to improve checks and balances and explain how decisions will be subject to greater and more transparent scrutiny in the future. We will be raising these points with them.'

Last updated: 20 October 2017