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

Council / Leask appointed convener as Valuation Joint Board seeks to open new chapter

Newly elected convener of the Orkney and Shetland valuation joint board Stephen Leask (right) with Darryl Rae, the board's assessor and electoral registration officer. Photo: Andrew Stewart

THE NEW leader of the Orkney and Shetland Valuation Joint Board (VJB) says he hopes a line can be drawn under the mistakes of the past, as the board held its first meeting since May’s council elections.

On Thursday, Lerwick North and Bressay councillor Stephen Leask was elected convener of the board, and Orkney councillor Dr Stephen Clackson will join him as vice convener.

Dr Clackson was among three councillors who resigned from the VJB during the last council term.

This relates back to actions taken to keep the board’s previous assessor in his job and allow the body to continue carrying out its functions, including offering the previous assessor a pay rise without proper scrutiny.

Much of the details around this had remained private until a bruising Accounts Commission report was published in March which found the board’s leadership to have “overstepped their authority” and even acted “unlawfully.”

Much has been done to resolve the situation, but the board is not out of the woods yet.

The new assessor Darryl Rae said the board was still undergoing a “period of unprecedented change” in terms of staff and its systems.

The board, which is made up of councillors from both local authorities, looks after the valuation roll and the council tax valuation lists for the two council areas. It is also responsible for the maintenance of the Register of Electors.

Speaking after Thursday’s meeting, Leask said he was asked how he feels about taking on the convener role after such a tumultuous period.

“We have a new board, new members, new assessors in position and we’re in a really good state. I feel we need to move forward together as a group,” he said.

“We can see the whole valuation joint board working together in a more progressive manner, in future.

Become a supporter of Shetland News


“I’m very honoured to be given the role by the members and I’m very pleased and privileged to become the convener.”

Asked what that road forward looks like, he added: “What we must do is draw a line under the past. We have to move forward.

“This is an opportunity to look at the past, look at the mistakes and actually learn from them.”

Report contributed by Orkney’s 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.



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.