According to the minutes of a closed meeting of the University of Sussex Senate (essentially its Executive Committee), the vexed question of outsourcing services was put into layman’s terms by Registrar & Secretary John Duffy:
I recognise that a group of staff and students are opposed to the [outsourcing] project, but a second and predominant group want to see good services provided on campus.
Little bit of a false dichotomy perhaps, but anyway, it’s hard to see how either of those groups will be satisfied by the new provider of the University’s catering services.
Previously, this company’s keen-ness has led to them committing a number of alleged financial crimes, which came to light after a 2005/06 investigation by the UK Serious Fraud Office regarding “irregularities” (Compass Group’s word) with a catering contract for United Nations peacekeeping units in Africa and Cyprus.
Compass was also subject to scrutiny from the American federal government and the UN’s own financial oversight office. The auspicious episode in Compass company history ended with the catering giant paying out $40 million in damages and being blacklisted from carrying out contracts for the UN. Not many companies can make such a boast! Fortunately, it doesn’t seem to have been much of an impediment in Sussex though.
The “irregularities” (what a nice, soft word that is) are said to have involved Compass Group staff bribing a UN official for the contract. There were also allegations that officials gave Compass inappropriate access to confidential information to help their bid.
So it sounds like they’ll fit in perfectly at Sussex then!