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Shetland Trust to redefine board following independence concerns

Shetland Trust to redefine board following independence concerns
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Shetland Trust to redefine board following independence concerns

Governance | Gareth Jones | 18 Nov 2009

The Shetland Charitable Trust is planning to appoint seven independent trustees after OSCR ordered it to reduce its links with the Shetland Island Council, though the councillors will still retain a majority on the board.

Under the proposals the new board will be reduced to 15, comprising eight councillors and seven non-councillors.

At present all 21 of the Island's councillors are automatically given a place on the Trust’s board, with two other trustees taking the total up to 23, but OSCR has said it needs to show “better and more obvious evidence of independence” from the Council.

Last year the Trust, which has managed investments totalling £193m and an annual income of £13.8m, had to defer a decision on investing £2.3m in a contentious windfarm project because trustees were concerned over a possible conflict of interest.

Council convener Sandy Cluness has consistently opposed any change to the way the Trust operates, arguing that the current system was working and that the electorate knows when it votes that all councillors will become trustees.

The Trust estimates that retaining its charitable status provides £3m a year in tax savings.

Views on the reform proposal are being sought until Friday 18 December by Trust general manager Ann Black (pictured).

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