Petition warns of councillors ‘kept in the dark’ over decision making at SIC

A group of residents has presented a petition calling for the SIC to hold an emergency meeting to address concerns about “disenfranchisement”.

The petition, which has been signed by 25 Shetland residents, raises wide-ranging concerns about how the council handles its business – and particularly the delegated powers available to senior officers.

Suzy Jolly, who wrote the petition, said she had become concerned by the council’s operations ever since moving to Shetland in 2009.

Ms Jolly, who lives in Virkie, said too many important decisions were being taken without any democratic scrutiny.

After voicing her complaints on social media, Ms Jolly said she was able to get a further 25 people to sign the petition – and says many more share her views.

The petition said that “disenfranchisement” appeared to be occurring on a regular basis result of how delegated authority are being interpreted by the SIC.

It adds that council officers appeared to be in charge whereas councillors were being kept “very much in the dark”.

“There also appears to be a lack of ‘open government’,” the petition added.

It goes on to complain that important information was being withheld from the public and councillors, questions whether best value practices were being adhered to and raises an apparent lack of safeguards with regards to disposal of property.

The issue of delegated authority was discussed by councillors last month after proposals for temporary speed restrictions south of Lerwick were brought before them merely to note, rather than to debate.

Several members raised concerns at the time about key decisions being made without their involvement – questioning its impact on democracy

The petition was submitted too late for inclusion in Monday’s SIC meeting – but may make the agenda for September’s meeting, if it is deemed valid.

A council spokesperson said: “We would not make a statement on a petition in advance of it being presented to the council – it is for the council to consider and determine how it wishes to respond.”


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