UHI Shetland - Open the door to your future
Saturday 22 June 2024
 16.3°C   WSW Gentle Breeze
Ocean Kinetics - The Engineering Experts

Council / Valuation joint board progress

The valuation joint board's Lerwick office. © Google 2020

THE TUMULTUOUS times faced by the Orkney and Shetland valuation joint board may be nearing an end.

That is according to the progress it has made since receiving a damning audit report last year, resulting in resignations of staff and councillors.

During a meeting of the board this week, updates were given on progress dealing with issues pointed out in the past.

The board ran into trouble in the first half of last year over what was widely reported as a disagreement over a possible significant pay rise for its assessor, Dennis Stevenson.

However, these matters were discussed in private.

The issue is understood to have led to a spate of resignations with Orkney councillors John Ross Scott and Dr Stephen Clackson both resigning from the board, following on from the resignation of Shetland councillor Malcolm Bell earlier in 2020.

Three members of Shetland Islands Council staff, who held office bearer roles on the board, also resigned.

At the time, Dr Clackson wrote in his newsletter, that he had resigned “to maintain his personal and professional integrity.”

This led to auditor Deloitte looking into the situation and publishing its findings in January this year.

Its report mentions a number of stark criticisms including leadership of the board being “neither robust, nor effective”, that the performance of the board had fallen, and it was noted that there was a lack of clarity surrounding roles and responsibilities of board members and management.

The audit gave the board six targets to meet, four of which it now has.

However, two targets remain unmet and the board now expects to meet them at the end of December this year.

These are developing a medium-term financial plan and the board undertaking training.

Another recommendation was that the board consider adopting a workforce plan.

This was also discussed at a meeting of the board this week with a plan being approved by the board.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

 

Within this plan, it was identified that there may be a problem with succession, as it was found that over 50 per cent of the body’s staff is over the age of 50.

The joint valuation board looks after property rates, council tax, and electoral registration in the two isles counties.

Despite mostly being made up of councillors and staff from Shetland Islands Council and Orkney Islands Council, the board is separate from both.

The valuation joint board has offices in both Kirkwall and Shetland and the staff and is paid by the local authorities.

By Orkney local democracy reporter Andrew Stewart

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 600 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.

 
Categories

Newsletters

Subscribe to a selection of different newsletters from Shetland News, varying from breaking news delivered on the minute, to a weekly round-up of the opinion posts. All delivered straight to your inbox.

Daily Briefing Newsletter Weekly Highlights Newsletter Opinion Newsletter Life in Shetland Newsletter

JavaScript Required

We're sorry, but Shetland News isn't fully functional without JavaScript enabled.
Head over to the help page for instructions on how to enable JavaScript on your browser.

Your Privacy

We use cookies on our site to improve your experience.
By using our service, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Cookie Policy.

Browser is out-of-date

Shetland News isn't fully functional with this version of .
Head over to the help page for instructions on updating your browser for more security, improved speed and the best overall experience on this site.

Interested in Notifications?

Get notifications from Shetland News for important and breaking news.
You can unsubscribe at any time.

Become a supporter of Shetland News

We're committed to ensuring everyone has equitable access to impartial, open and quality local journalism that benefits all residents.

By supporting Shetland News, you play a vital role in ensuring we remain a pivotal resource in supporting the community.

Support us from as little as £3 per month – it only takes a minute to sign up. Thank you.