Slap and HNP (James Sandison)

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.

James Sandison


Add Your Comment
  • Johan Adamson

    • December 24th, 2015 10:42

    Well said. There is absolutely something wrong with the charities legislation and the way SCT and SLAP has been set up in Shetland, which has got us into this situation where the community are totally powerless; in that SCT and SLAP can do what they want, invest in what they want, contract who they want to do any work for them, without question or scrutiny. I hope their contracts, for building services, PR and any other work (including IT and audit) are routinely put out to tender.

  • Chris Johnston

    • December 27th, 2015 14:54

    It seems to me SLAP is selling the site because SCT needs money now, and Cityheart has offered more than HNP. I infer from this that affairs at SCT may be shakier than it admits.
    James Sandison is spot on. If you want to know about any organization, watch what they do and take what they say with a grain of salt.

  • AliInkster

    • December 28th, 2015 11:01

    Seeing as SLAP/SCT are supposed to making the maximum legal return then I take it they will be reinvesting in tobacco and arms industries.

    • John N Hunter

      • December 29th, 2015 17:09

      I am sure they were advised to do just that in the past.

  • Johan Adamson

    • December 30th, 2015 9:33

    Seeing as the majority of the Trustees of SCT and the majority of the Directors of SLAP are supporters of VE we will be justifying more windfarm investment next and the sad thing is there is nothing we can do about it. But they know best and the community does not get a say in it.

  • Johan Adamson

    • February 8th, 2016 13:20

    Its good that the directors of SLAP have responded in Fridays ST. But I am still confused about why the HNP site has to be redeveloped. The flats and the new museum moved into the area knowing HNP was a neighbour, so whats the problem? They moved into a commercial area. If HNP wants a lease, its money is as good as anyones surely? If they need to fix up the building that is up to them. If he didnt offer the most for the land, let him re-offer. But Cityheart might withdraw their offer since this is really not a good site for a hostel – the students will have to drive and so will have cars. None of the new flats have enough parking – like the old baptist kirk, St Olafs Hall, etc. The college really needs to go to the present AHS site and the halls of residence are already there, so students can walk. Maybe like the old library, common sense will prevail 20 years later.

    If he doesnt want to move, leave it. Its like a bad 80s movie, evicting people in the name of progress, and if both sides dig their heels in it will eradicate those profits that seem to now be more important than any community benefit. If it costs SLAP a lot of money in legal fees, I suppose they can spend what they like because when discussed in future any decrease in profits will all be HNPs fault. Even although, as we all know, the Directors are responsible for their own actions.


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