A New Year’s resolution (10 councillors)

The year 2012 will see an end to our community’s democratic control over the annual spending of £11m by the Shetland Charitable Trust, if the charity regulator accepts the current proposals to appoint a majority of unelected trustees.

Every citizen has the right to comment on this. Whether you support the proposal or wish to retain democratic control in some form or other, all you have to do is write to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). If you want to go into more detail about the changes you’d like to see for the trust, OSCR will send you the full proposal, passed by nine of the 22 trustees on 15th December.

The postal address is:
David Robb,
Chief Executive,
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator,
2nd Floor, Quadrant House,
9 Riverside Drive,
Dundee DD1 4NY.

You can also email info@oscr.org.uk, marking it for Mr Robb’s attention.

There’s more information available online at www.oscr.org.uk/media/27301/charity_reorganisation_guidance_2011.pdf

What’s at stake is the future of a unique public trust that supports a vast variety of charitable work for the good of the people of Shetland, as its founders intended. To try to preserve public control over hundreds of millions of pounds’ worth of current and future trust investments seems to us a particularly worthwhile New Year’s resolution.

Leslie Angus
Sandy Cluness
Addie Doull
Allison Duncan
Florence Grains
Robert Henderson
Andrew Hughson
Gary Robinson
Davie Sandison
Jonathan Wills


Add Your Comment
  • Steve Poleson

    • January 13th, 2012 13:51

    Just because one is elected doesn’t mean one is the right person for the job. Just ask the Edinburgh councillors who badly managed the Edinburgh trams project. Look at the way the council’s finances have been squandered away in recent years.

    7 councillors providing a measure of accountability and 8 selected trustees based on skill, ability and experience is the way forward.

  • Billy Fox

    • January 13th, 2012 19:29

    I agree wholeheartedly with these sentiments and the concerns of retaining democratic control of the Shetland Charitable Trust. However, when it comes to democracy and transparency there is also a need to examine just how compliant the current trust has been recently.

    I refer in this instance to the recent Memorandum of Understanding signed between the Shetland Islands Council, Shetland Charitable Trust and Vattenfall, namely to investigate marine renewables.

    The agreement was signed for the SIC under delegated authority by the Director of Development Services, and for the SCT by chairman Bill Manson, vice-chair Jim Henry, and trustee Gussie Angus. It never appeared on any SCT agenda and was never discussed by the full board of trustees.

    I emailed the 22 trustees at that time 18/11/11, enquiring if they knew of the agreement and if it had been discussed with them. Only six responded – two who knew of it, being signatories, and of course did not have a problem with it, and four who did not know of the agreement until it was announced at the Dynamic Shetland conference on 16/11/11. Of these four, two did not have an issue but two did have genuine concerns. Whatever the situation and opinions with the remaining sixteen trustees I have no idea.

    I find it unbelievable that an agreement with a global utility company such as Vattenfall was not discussed by all trustees. My disbelief is compounded as the Development Committee meeting on 09/11/11 where the agreement took place was followed the next day by a meeting of the SCT. It follows therefore that a number of councillors, as Development Committee members, knew of the agreement, but presumably did not impart that knowledge to their fellow trustees when they sat down wearing their SCT hats the very next day!

    The significant commitment of this agreement is being minimised by the SCT signatories’ contention that there is no financial element; this is questionable. Reading the detail of the MoU, which I have obtained through a Freedom of Information request, this agreement is only the beginning!

    There are a considerable number of councillor/trustees who are principled hardworking members but who are being tarred with the actions of a few, I sincerely hope in the absence of questions being asked in public that a great deal is being asked behind closed doors. If trustees are asking for democracy in future governance, which is essential, there is an urgent need for this to be currently demonstrated.

  • Ian Bruce

    • January 13th, 2012 23:39

    Have I missed something? I have never seen anything on a ballot paper that implies the if you are elected you are deemed automatically trust worthy. Surly trust has to be earned.
    And the amount of money the councillors have wasted on pet projects is a disgrace.
    You should only be aloud to either be! On the trust or a Councillor not both.
    Speak about a conflict of interests.
    The windmill investment is proof of that They either have land that the blasted thinks are to be built on or seem to have someone reason not to be able to take part in any vote on the subject. (Money Interest)
    The whole trust investment thing has a nasty smell following it around.
    None of the councillors (Involved in VE seem to have invested there own money or mortgaged there house) It looks as if they are making money at the trust expense.
    The trust takes the risk but the VE directors get there bank accounts cut ? before the trust gets anything back..
    What ever the truth of the whole thing is. I now find myself in the position of no longer trusting anyone in the Town Hall.
    I also now feel that the public in Shetland have just been lied too.
    And there is nothing any of them could say now that would change that view
    Oh ! why not close the planing department most of the time they over rule them anyway.
    The money from that could have kept the Scalloway School open.


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