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Universities spend over £32m a year on confidentiality clauses

Universities in the UK are spending hundreds of millions of pounds on confidentiality clauses and non-disclosure agreements signed by departing members of staff, according to an HE investigation.

HE sent freedom of information requests to about 130 higher-education institutions asking how many non-disclosure agreements—often called “gagging clauses”—had been signed by staff between 2014 and 2017. Universities were also asked to reveal the value of any payments made in connection to those agreements.

A total of 79 universities sent useable information detailing confidentiality payments worth a total of £130.4 million during the period, some £32.6 million a year. The data show that on average, each of the 79 universities made payments worth a total of just under £1.7m between 2014 and 2017.

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