Shetland Charitable Trust has unveiled the names of its eight new appointed trustees.
Among those who will sit alongside seven SIC councillors on the reformed trust are lord lieutenant Bobby Hunter, NHS Shetland chairman Ian Kinniburgh, ex-SIC vice convener Jimmy Smith and recently retired councillor Betty Fullerton.
They are joined by Dr Ian Napier, senior marine policy adviser at the NAFC Marine Centre, former SIC head of children’s services Stephen Morgan, Spiggie Hotel owner Keith Massey and Catherine Hughson, executive officer at Voluntary Action Shetland.
Interviews were carried out in late November and the recommendations of a three-strong appointment panel were rubber-stamped in private by existing trustees yesterday.
It brings an end to tortuous efforts at reforming the trust’s governance, designed to satisfy charities regulator OSCR that there is clear separation between the trust and council.
Outgoing trust chairman Drew Ratter said he was pleased with the calibre of the candidates chosen to steward a big chunk of Shetland’s oil wealth.
The newly-reformed trust has to hold its first meeting before 31st March next year, and Mr Ratter said he hoped the first session would be sooner than that.
“I’m well satisfied with the whole process, gratified by the response and content to see that people with wide experience and capabilities have put themselves forward and been appointed,” he said yesterday.
Mr Ratter added that he expected the new trustees would want to review their spending priorities, but he had “absolutely no fixed view” on what direction the trust should take.
Persistent dragging of heels by councillors in the last few years led to a series of damaging skirmishes between the trust and OSCR. The regulator threatened to suspend trustees and grab the strings of the £200 million purse unless trustees got on with the reform.
There was considerable opposition to eight of the 15 trustees being appointed rather than directly elected. An independent review will be carried out in three years, with current trust vice-chairman Jonathan Wills hopeful it will result in “democracy being restored” before too long.
It spends more than £10 million a year funding local groups and projects, including the recreational, amenity and arts trusts, rural care centres and 17 voluntary groups. It is also a 45 per cent shareholder in the controversial 103-turbine Viking Energy windfarm project.
The seven SIC councillor trustees are convener Malcolm Bell, Peter Campbell, Robert Henderson, Andrea Manson, Drew Ratter, George Smith and Dr Wills.