Sir Michael Barber, the chairman of the government’s new Office for Students (OfS), which begins operating next year, has said that Vice-Chancellor pay levels which are “out of kilter” with an institution’s performance will be exposed and dealt with by the new regulator.

After controversy surrounding the pay of Bath University’s ex Vice- Chancellor, Barber said: “There are some Vice-Chancellors’ pay packets that look out of kilter with the performance of their institutions, their contribution. We will certainly bear down on in a variety of ways.”

Barbed added the ratio between a Vice-Chancellor’s pay and the average pay of staff in an institution will also be compared by the regulator.

“That will make it very visible where certain pay packets stand out like a sore thumb.”

Still, the OfS has made it clear that universities will still be allowed the independence to set their own pay rates.

“We aren’t going to interfere directly with university autonomy which is fundamental to the success of British universities,” Barber said.

“I have said publicly to universities and to Vice-Chancellors, the best form of regulation is self- regulation. See among yourselves where the pay packets stand out and see whether you should reduce them.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4, Barber said Vice-Chancellor pay is a “key aspect of value for money. And people are interested in that.” He added that the OfS certainly has the powers to control levels of value for money.