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Shetland charity to make trustees independent of government, following OSCR pressure

Sumburgh, near Jarlshof, on the Sheltland Islands. Courtesy of Bex Ross
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Shetland charity to make trustees independent of government, following OSCR pressure

Governance | Gareth Jones | 18 May 2011

Local councillors have conceded defeat in their long-running battle with OSCR over whether they are allowed to control the Shetland Charitable Trust.

At a meeting last week, trustees unanimously approved reforms proposed by general manager Ann Black, after legal advice insisted there was no option but to significantly reduce the number of councillors serving on the board.

The trustees had previously rejected the proposals in September last year, but were forced to concede on the issue after a specially-commissioned report by Roy Martin QC, whose services cost around £20,000, said changes were the only way to retain the Trust’s charitable status.

Currently, 21 of the 23 trustees are councillors, whereas Black’s proposals will ensure the “the majority of trustees should be drawn from outwith the council”.

These would see the new board reduced to 15 members.

A working group will now draw up detailed plans for making the changes.

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