People urged to support democratic control of charitable trust

Ten councillors have put their names to a letter urging people in Shetland to write to the charities regulator OSCR demanding that democratic control be maintained over Shetland Charitable Trust.

It follows the decision by a majority of trustees last month to end majority control by councillors over the £200 million trust, instead moving to a system of seven-councillor trustees and eight selected trustees.

The six trustees who voted against that proposal – nine were in favour – have now been joined by three who were either absent from the meeting or abstained (Andrew Hughson, Allison Duncan and Sandy Cluness) and new councillor Davie Sandison in objecting to the “end to our community’s democratic control over the annual spending of £11m by the Shetland Charitable Trust”. Trustees Jonathan Wills and Sandy Cluness resigned in the aftermath of the vote.

The signatories want people to write to OSCR chief executive David Robb, who is due to visit Shetland soon, as part of OSCR’s consultation exercise into the proposals.

In their letter, published in today’s Shetland Times, they state: “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.”


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