On its website, Slap states its key values to be:
Professional: We’ll look to develop professional and long-term relationships based on trust, openness and transparency.
Strong: We are financially robust with strong ethics and operating principles.
Trustworthy: We will always apply clear ethics and transparent business practices.
Beneficial: We will always work as much in our clients’ interests as our community’s. We will manage our assets professionally. We will talk about the benefits of investing in our company and community.
In their recent reported dealings with HNP, it is very difficult to find evidence of trust, openness or transparency, rather evidence of a culture of obfuscation and opaqueness, while hiding behind the smokescreen of business confidentiality.
They are indeed showing themselves to be strong; maybe strong-arming is nearer the mark.
There is little public perception of any ethical and transparent business ethos being operated.
As to working to their client’s and the community’s best interests, is HNP not a current client, as opposed to Cityheart, only a potential client if planning is granted, and are HNP workers not a part of the community? Perhaps some clients’ interests are more favoured than others.
Slap stated that it had tried to help HNP with many alternative sites, all of which were not acceptable to HNP.
If they had so many alternatives, would it not have been possible and sensible to have helped to point Cityheart towards one of these sites (at least one of which I am lead to believe was adjacent to the college), and leave HNP as a functioning business on the existing site, thus satisfying both clients.
The council and Shetland Charitable Trust representatives who were trotted out to interviews on Radio Shetland were not convincing in their arguments, sounding rather defensive and bombastic.
Jonathan Wills in particular was trying hard to railroad his supportive opinions through, but was caught out when, after many prompts, he eventually had to admit to stating something which he did not actually know to be true. Never let the truth get in the way of a good rant.
Both were trying to support the position taken by Slap, while saying that they knew nothing about Slap as it was an independent company. You really can’t have it both ways.
The charitable trust appears to be happy to accept any financial remuneration created by Slap, without any knowledge or care about how it has been achieved.
It is understandable that the charitable trust, being a charity, should separate itself from Slap. But as Slap was set up with public money, there must be some sort of oversight into what it does. Surely someone should be looking at collateral effects as well as narrow commercial gain.
I believe one reason that Slap wants rid of HNP is that it regards an industrial enterprise on that site as being unsuitable. Since when did Slap turn into a planning authority?
Maggie Thatcher said that “there was no such thing as society”; maybe SLAP believes there is “no such thing as community”. Well, they are both wrong, as shown by a petition favouring HNP which has raised 1,100-plus signatures in a few days.
I have yet to meet a single person who supports the Slap position, but many who are against.