A confidential survey of the pay and perks of principals and managers is being used by colleges to beef up their salaries.
The 85-page survey "of remuneration of middle managers and senior postholders" has been carried out by consultants Payskills Ltd, for the Association of Colleges. They sent questionnaires out and 406 colleges participated.
Dave Gibson, chair of the AOC, says in a foreword: "The results are entirely confidential and covered by copyright.
"The information will not be provided to colleges that have not completed the questionnaire. The respective boards look to each chair and principalchief executive to ensure confidentiality when handling this document."
The survey details salaries, bonuses, cars, holidays, living accommodation, private health care, and death in service benefits, by college type and size. It reviews remuneration for four job types: principal, deputy principal, assistant principal and facultydepartmental head. Altogether, 6,762 posts are analysed.
Payskills also offers a pay comparison service for a fee. It will compare posts with up to 13 comparator colleges. Colleges decide whether they want to compare salary only or salary plus benefits.
One governor, reviewing the remuneration of some staff, said: "This was clearly all designed for everyone to help each other out in getting more pay and perks. It seemed to me to resemble something like a cartel."
John Wood, of Payskills, says in the survey: "There are occasions where retention of staff has such a priority that it is worth spending a little more in the short run to protect the college from greater expense or dislocation in the long run."
Fifteen per cent of principals were eligible for bonuses, (averaging pound;5,400) and 13 per cent of deputies. A fifth of principals were given cars (average cost pound;19, 900).