A LAST ditch attempt to retain democratic control of the £200 million Shetland Charitable Trust is being staged next week.
Having lost the vote on reforming the trust in December, councillor Gary Robinson is taking the battle into the local council chamber.
Under pressure from the Scottish charity regulator OSCR, the trust voted to adopt a new structure that will remove councillor control of the organisation that is responsible for dispersing much of Shetland’s oil wealth.
However a core of councillors still oppose the plan to appoint a majority of eight independent trustees, reducing the number of councillors on the board to seven.
Mr Robinson will present a motion to Shetland Islands Council on 8 February calling for the eight independent trustees to be democratically elected.
In his motion he points out that the trust was set up by Act of Parliament to give the local authority powers to distribute its income from the oil industry, and that it had an exemplary record.
He adds that the reforms were only agreed on the casting vote of trust chairman Bill Manson with the support of seven trustees, less than one third of the trust.
He says the current proposal is potentially damaging the partnership between the trust, the local authority and several other independent local trusts.
“If there is a fundamental shift in the control of the trust, effectively making it a private, self-appointed and self-perpetuating trust rather than a publicly elected body, there is a danger that this highly successful partnership may be seriously disrupted.
“If the SCT now ceases to have an elected majority, and thus public accountability, its priorities may change.”
Become a supporter of Shetland News
Shetland News is asking its many readers to consider start paying for their dose of the latest local news delivered straight to their PC, tablet or mobile phone.
Journalism comes at a price and because that price is not being paid in today’s rapidly changing media world, most publishers - national and local - struggle financially despite very healthy audience figures.
Most online publishers have started charging for access to their websites, others have chosen a different route. Shetland News currently has over 540 supporters who are all making small voluntary financial contributions. All funds go towards covering our cost and improving the service further.
Your contribution will ensure Shetland News can: -
- Bring you the headlines as they happen;
- Stay editorially independent;
- Give a voice to the community;
- Grow site traffic further;
- Research and publish more in-depth news, including more Shetland Lives features.
If you appreciate what we do and feel strongly about impartial local journalism, then please become a supporter of Shetland News by either making a single payment or monthly subscription.
Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.Support Shetland News