Another damning Deloitte audit report on the Orkney & Shetland Valuation Joint Board – even worse than last year’s one, and this time uncovering unlawful behaviour!
It is all very well trotting out the tired clichés “mistakes were made” and “we need to move forward and learn from the past”, but the lessons were there all along, if only the O&SVJB convener Cllr Andrew Drever had shown some respect to me and my colleague Cllr John Ross Scott and heeded what we were saying, rather than dismissing our resignations in August 2020 as “a stushie at the valuation board.”
Prior to my resignation, I had drawn board members’ attention to how the course of action they were contemplating was incompatible with good governance principles and in contravention of certain of the Nolan Principles of Public Life, in particular the principle of integrity.
At an earlier meeting (at which I was not present) Cllr Malcolm Bell resigned, followed soon after by the Clerk to the Board and the proper officer for finance, all with similar concerns about governance and non-compliance with good practice.
It beggars belief that such a string of resignations should not have alerted the convener and the remaining board members that something was amiss with what they were doing.
Nevertheless, all five of us were ignored, and the latest audit report makes it abundantly clear that no lessons were learnt from our warnings – lessons that could have been applied nearly two years ago!
Traditionally, the generously-remunerated position of convener to the Orkney & Shetland Valuation Joint Board, a five-year appointment, has been treated as a sinecure.
However, as the Deloitte audit reports have highlighted, there are times when sound leadership is demanded.
Therefore, I would recommend that, in future, this position be contested on an annual basis.
Cllr Dr Stephen Clackson (Orkney Islands Council)