SNP - Tom Wills

Letters / A trust without councillors?

As your readers may know, the Shetland Charitable Trust is at present reviewing its governance arrangements, four years after the re-organisation which reduced the number of trustees to 15 and left councillor trustees in a minority of seven to the eight appointed trustees.

There is a proposal to reduce the number of councillors further, to just four.

This will not resolve the perceived “conflict of interest” problem, nor the problem of the trust’s accounts still being “grouped” by Audit Scotland, as if the trust were a subsidiary of the council.

The solution appears to be for there no longer to be any councillors at all on the trust, given the difficulties so much publicised in recent years.

However, given the intrinsic public character of the trust fund, due to its origins as public money and its purpose being the benefit of “the inhabitants of the Shetland Islands”, it seems reasonable to propose that the public should still have a say in who controls the trust.

Therefore there is a suggestion that eight of the trustees be nominated by public election and the remaining seven appointed after interview; or some other arrangement whereby the public regains majority representation on the trust.

I would be interested to know the views of your readers on this important issue of public policy.

Do they support the principle of an elected majority of trustees, or would they be content to see the public’s representatives reduced to four out of 15?

Councillor Jonathan Wills
Lerwick South ward

A discussion paper on this subject by councillor Wills can be read here.

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