Seventy staff leave art school after second fire

Investigations into institution's risk management are ongoing
Investigations into institution's risk management are ongoing
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Seventy staff have left Glasgow School of Art since the building suffered a second fire amid accusations of bullying and intimidation.

Forty staff have resigned since the blaze at the world-famous building designed by Charles Rennie Mackintosh, while 30 have been made redundant.

Six have signed confidentiality agreements with pay-offs to departing staff totalling £210,000.

It is unclear, however, if figures from the school’s HR department include the resignation of director Tom Inns who, sources suggest, received £250,000 when he left suddenly last year.

Investigations continue into risk management at the school before it was destroyed by fire in June last year and a report from by Scottish Fire and Rescue Service on the cause and origin of the second fire is expected within weeks.

MP Paul Sweeney believes pay-offs and confidentiality agreements must be scrutinised as official inquiries continue into the blaze and management of famous art school.

He said: “This speaks to a culture that is clearly not transparent. Light is the best disinfectant and a full independent public inquiry is long overdue.”

A former staff member at the school said many colleagues had left because of the management culture, including allegations of bullying and a lack of leadership from the art school board.

They said: “The number of staff who have left is very 
high.

“There is a really unstable operating environment there which must raise serious questions about their sustainability as an independent institution if they keep going like this. Some of the staff who left had been there for many years.

“They didn’t want to leave but felt they had to.

“The morale is dreadful. People are just worn down.”

Glasgow School of Art said it could not comment on individual staff, but added: “Our staff turnover is comparable with the higher education sector.

“As with most organisations, standard confidentiality clauses do feature in formal settlement agreements, but these do not prevent either the GSA or individuals from providing information to relevant authorities.”