15th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Consultees treated with contempt

Last October, I wrote to the schools service on behalf of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society, objecting strongly to the proposal to close the secondary department of Scalloway School. I listed reasons why the proposal would be bad for both the secondary pupils and the new museum which will be run by the society.

My letter has been copied and circulated in the consultation report but the name of the society has been removed. The same has been done with the representations from most individuals and organisations. Surely councillors are entitled to know who are the authors of the consultation responses, in order to give them due merit before they take decisions of such massive importance. Anonymity devalues the representations and denies councillors essential information.

It would be sad if the main outcome of the present exercise was that the consultees felt their views had been treated with contempt.

Another matter of concern is what will happen to the findings of the consultation. The huge total of 82 per cent of the representations made were opposed to the proposal to close the secondary department while only 7.5 per cent were in favour. As it is portrayed, the main purpose of any consultation is to take into consideration the wish of the majority and then apply it. If the will of the vast majority is ignored in this clear-cut case then all future consultations will be regarded as pointless exercises.

Jack Burgess
Chair of the Shetland Bus Friendship Society
c/o Mayburn Cottage,
Ladysmith Road,
Scalloway.

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