With regard to Shetland Charitable Trust reform, OSCR says it is not up to it to decide whether election or selection of the majority of trustees was the most superior method.
That being the case it should be a relatively simple matter to review this and hold a public vote on how we want our board of trustees constituted.
OSCR also re-iterated that governance must change as the current constitution created “irreconcilable conflicts of interest and resulted in public mistrust of decisions taken on behalf of the trust”. I completely agree … so where was OSCR on 28th June?
In reply to my query for its opinion on the 28th June meeting I received the following:
“Dear Mr Fox
Shetland Charitable Trust – SC027025
Thank you for your emails of 22 and 25 June in relation to the forthcoming meeting of the Trust.
We have considered the legal advice provided by Turcan Connell on 20 June and 25 June and believe that the issues regarding conflict of interest have been adequately covered in this advice.
While we note your concern about having a personal conflict of interest as a result of your previous relationship with Sustainable Shetland, we consider there to be a distinction between a conflict of interest and a difference of opinion on a particular issue, with the latter not impinging on an individual’s ability to participate in a decision regarding that issue – this appears to be confirmed by the advice of 25 June.
You also question whether the investment in Viking passes the charity test. It is our understanding that SCT’s involvement with Viking Energy is as an investment destination for its funds, rather than as an activity which is directly meant to further its charitable purposes. As such, any decisions on whether to invest further will depend on whether the charity trustees feel such investment is in the interests of the charity, rather than whether it relates to SCT’s charitable purposes. The issues of possible disbenefit which you raise may of course be relevant factors in coming to a view on whether the investment is in the interests of the charity, on the grounds that any disbenefit which you might be able to identify might impact adversely on SCT’s beneficiaries and its reputation.”
I would contend that, if OSCR could not find any conflict of interest with the 28th June meeting then I doubt if it can have any issue with the governance of the trust, in essence I believe OSCR has looked a proper Charlie with its contrary views on the trust’s governance.
Trust governance must change for the Shetland public’s sake and it must be democratic but I do not think the trust need worry about OSCR, it appears to be toothlessly inconsistent.
Shetland Charitable Trust beneficiary