16th November 2018
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Councillors to try again on elections to charitable trust

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Two councillors have issued a plea for the SIC to urge Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT) to introduce elections for eight independent trustees to sit on the body.

After a convoluted saga SCT trustees finally agreed reforms to dilute councillors’ control over the £200 million community fund in December. But the decision means handpicking a majority of trustees to sit alongside seven councillors, and prompted SIC convener Sandy Cluness and rebel councillor Jonathan Wills to resign as trustees.

Now councillor Gary Robinson has put together a motion, seconded by Allison Duncan, calling on the trust to reconsider its method of selecting independent trustees.

Due to go before next Thursday’s full SIC meeting, Mr Robinson’s proposal also calls on members to instruct chief executive Alistair Buchan to write to charities regulator OSCR warning against the removal of democratic control over the oil-funded nest egg.

Mr Robinson and Mr Duncan also criticise the manner in which the trust decision was taken on 15th December. Only seven of the 14 trustees present voted in favour of the proposal, meaning the casting vote of trust chairman Bill Manson was required to push it through.

Mr Robinson states: “These seven represented less than one third of the membership of the trust at that date. Although the trust deed appears to be silent on the majority required for significant amendments, it is normal practice in most organisations for such fundamental constitutional changes to require a two-thirds majority.”

The trust is responsible for spending over £10 million a year, helping to fund social care and the recreational, arts and amenity trusts.

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