Trusts pushed to be more open

Pressure is to be put on the publicly funded trusts in Shetland to be less secretive towards the community which pays for them. Shetland Charitable Trust agreed to look into the issue after hearing yesterday of complaints from members of the public denied information by some of the satellite trusts, which are Shetland Arts, Shetland Amenity Trust and Shetland Recreational Trust.

Raising the issue, councillor-trustee Gary Robinson said it was “quite poor” that two people had been refused requests recently by un-named trusts which had written back declaring they were not subject to the openness requirements made law by the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Although Shetland Charitable Trust is not subject to the requirements either it has a policy of providing people with any information they request, provided it does not relate to a staffing matter or endanger commercial confident­iality.

Mr Robinson said openness should be a condition of the charitable trust’s funding grant to satellite trusts. He wants the charitable trust to step in and make rulings on any information refused by one of the trusts it funds, forcing disclosure if it considers there are not sufficient grounds for it remaining confidential.

Chairman Bill Manson agreed to call for a report on the matter. He said the trusts could be encouraged to open up but the charitable trust would not seek to be their conscience.


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