Damaging the trust (Vic Thomas)

On Radio Shetland’s Monday evening programme, SIC convener Sandy Cluness uttered the most seriously deranged comment he has ever spoken in response to the latest communication from the Scottish Charities Regulator (OSCR), regarding its demand for changes to the constitution of Shetland Charitable Trust.

His comments have moved his position from the usual reckless and inappropriate conduct to that of seriously putting the charitable trust at risk, this must be bordering on professional misconduct if not directly so.

If his and other councillor-trustees’ stance to challenge the recommendation of OSCR brings the trust into legal conflict with OSCR to pursue this maverick behaviour, he will again (Norröna) cost the Shetland public yet more financial losses and if OSCR decides to take control of the trust temporarily or otherwise, it is an indiscretion too far.

I believe we should investigate a class action on behalf of the people of Shetland to recover from him and any others, any further losses or costs his action may bring about.

Perhaps it’s time someone out there with some legal knowledge of these things and better advised than the rubbish Mr Cluness keeps deferring to, could advise if an injunction would be appropriate to stop his further actions damaging the trust?

Vic Thomas


Add Your Comment
  • Alan Skinner

    • November 30th, 2011 10:29

    I have investigated the class action route already. Sadly, class actions do not exist in Scotland. The sooner that Mr Cluness’s acolytes stop drinking the Kool-Aid, the better it will be for all of Shetland.

  • Martyn Fisher

    • November 30th, 2011 10:54

    I agree with this letter. More money to be wasted fighting OSCR. I say no. OSCR would not have made its statement if it did not think it was correct. When will the Council start to see the only money that should be spent by the Charitable trust is the intrest that they make on investing it. This would leave the pot intact for future generations. Martyn Fisher

  • John Pedley

    • November 30th, 2011 11:10

    Well said! I couldn’t agree more. Any move to censure Mr Cluness’ actions has my utmost support.

    John Pedley

  • Martin Tregonning

    • November 30th, 2011 14:23

    The question of a class action in these circumstances is a moot point.

    If Trustees of a Chairty take legal action against the Charity Regulator and then lose, then the Trustees in question will become personally liable for the costs of such an action.

    Trustees are required to act in the best interest of the Charity at all times. To reject the guidence of the regulator and to embark on legal action using charitable funds to defend their position would be deemed to be not in the interests of the charity, and the Trustees would become personally liable.

    Although the role of OSCR is relatively new in Scotland, there is plenty of precedence in the English courts in respect of action taken against the Charity Commission for England and Wales, and in respect of Charity law the Scottish courts have tended to follow English precedence.

    If the SCT Trustees take action against OSCR they do at their own legal risk.

  • David B Spence

    • November 30th, 2011 21:36

    I really hope you are right Martin (regarding SCT Trustees being personally liable for any court actions should they go that route).

    If not, this will be a serious kick in the teeth for those who have already taken pay cuts, voluntary redundancy or lost positions due to the councils ongoing attempts to save.

    If morale wasn’t low enough already, knowing those in the Town Hall are throwing yet more money away just because they want to, will all but eliminate it.

    There is a perception that they are somehow defending the rights of the Shetland community to retain control over the Trust – well, if that is genuinely the case, then do as the OSCR requires, and step aside to let independently elected trustees look after the trust and get back to doing what you were elected to do. God knows, there is no shortage there..

  • Dave Heaney

    • December 1st, 2011 23:28

    Vic Thomas by being able to show how we feel on this great site courtesy of the Times, people have the opportunity to comment and raise issues they feel strong about. The likes
    of councillors, MPs, ect who like to air their views among fellow jobsworths who usually have no higher education or business experience.They don’t like this new media because people can communicate and discuss what these idiots are doing, and hopfully they will not vote for them when they come up for election next time round.

    Mr Cluness has made it clear the view of the council is one that will cling to running a trust with millions of pounds in the pot, while getting paid to be councillors and taking the perks handed out by the Oil & Gas companies ie dinners,drinks,& small gifts several times a year even if it’s illegal.

    We the general public can change things if we speak up, demand openess, be able to elect trustees who are not councillors! to run the charitable trust, these trustees would hold open meetings at certain times of the year for the people to have their say, funds could be paid at times, for expert advice who have experience in dealing with multinational companies.

    Norway has one of the highest standards of living in the world thank’s to Gas & Oil it’s a country the same size as Scotland so we could be the same.


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