Shetland Charitable Trust should have eight directly elected trustees, seven nominated by Shetland Islands Council and up to five co-opted to share their expertise and experience when relevant.
That’s the “compromise” being suggested by councillor-trustee Jonathan Wills, who has previously argued in favour of a wholly elected trust, for Thursday’s meeting.
It has been called after a critical letter from the chief executive of the charities regulator OSCR, David Robb, which urged the trust to drop its proposal for a referendum on reform and imposed a time limit of the end of the month for concrete proposals.
Reform has been blocked by a group of councillor-trustees led by council convener Sandy Cluness who believe the current arrangements have served Shetland well.
OSCR has been pushing for reform of the trust’s governance to comply with charities legislation and most recently a working group proposed eight trustees appointed by an independent panel (one of whom would chair the trust) and seven councillor-trustees.
Dr Wills said he would be happy to consider amendments to his proposal, as long as a majority of trustees would be elected. “I will not vote for any proposal that results in elected trustees being in a minority on the trust,” he said.
“This [motion] is in line with the compromise solution I proposed some time ago and which was described by the former Scottish Charities Regulator as “hitting the bulls-eye”. I believe it would resolve all of our current difficulties with OSCR and other authorities, while retaining and reinforcing the fundamental principle of public accountability through election.”