Shetland Charitable Trust
Shetland Charitable Trust (SCT)is a registered charity which exists to benefit
the inhabitants of Shetland. Its Trust Deed states that its aim is to provide public benefit to and improve the quality
of life for the people of Shetland, especially in the areas of: Social care and welfare, Arts, culture, sport and recreation, education, the environment,
natural history and heritage.
The Trust is currently run by 21 of the 22 Shetland Islands Council councillors,
plus 2 appointed positions; head teacher of Anderson High School, and
the Lord Lieutenant of Shetland. The missing councillor is Alan Wishart,
who resigned as Trustee and Viking Energy Ltd director, to take up
a paid post with Viking Energy Ltd...
The Trust owns 90% of the shares in Viking Energy Limited, after
buying them from Shetland Islands Council.
Viking Energy Limited is 50% partner with SSE Viking Limited as part of the Viking
Energy Partnership - the developer of the Viking Energy wind farm.
There is considerable concern that the Charitable trusts involvement with
Viking Energy is contrary to the wishes of the majority of the Shetland
community, and that since the entire Shetland community is the beneficiary
of the Trust, this is unfair and unprincipled behaviours by a charity.
Consultation on SCT reform
In response to demands from charity regulator OSCR, Shetland Charitable
Trust was instructed to come forward with proposals to reform its governance
to bring it into line with charity law, especially to address the dominance
of local authority councillors acting as trustees.
The 2010 SCT reform consultation proposals are here. The main thrust of their report
is the new Trust should have 8 councillors plus 7 appointed others.
Basically, that council control should continue. To be fair however,
since some trustees want limited reform, some more reform and some want none at all, the report may be
trying to find a happy medium to suit councillor / trustees. unfortunately, this goes
no where near addressing the needs or wants of the Shetland community.
Sustainable Shetland have submitted a detailed 7 page response to these proposals. View as PDF file at www.sustainableshetland.org/docs/sustainable-shetland-SCT-consultation-response.pdf
This 2010 response to the first consultation is here at
Summary of Sustainable Shetland 2010 response:
- We agree that reform of the Charitable Trust is necessary
- We agree that the trust retaining charitable status
is in the best interests of the Trust and its beneficiaries.
- With regard governance, we agree that maintaining the status quo
is not an option.
- A 15 member Charitable Trust would be acceptable.
- An 8-7 split between councillors and council appointed trustees
is not acceptable.
- Maintaining a majority of councillors is
not acceptable. We note the original McFadden committee report,
which informed the
Act, recommended that no more than a third of councillors serve
appointed trustees is not democratic and is not acceptable.
- We feel that council appointed trustees may not be sufficient
to prove independence, and may prove the reverse, that council
- We believe a potential risk exists that the
continuation of any number of councillor trustees with voting rights
the charitable status of the Trust or its future integrity
- We believe that all Trustees should be directly elected
to the Charitable Trust
- We believe that other options for
governance reform should be considered and consulted upon.
- Future consultation should include direct community
engagement such as public meetings, events, workshops and surgeries
- The current report proposals leave the risk of a future
SIC with a
party majority would ensure “their” members and supporters
gained control of Shetland Charitable Trust through SIC
councillors and appointed trustees. Such control may be manifestly
to their initial council majority.
- Structure of councillor plus councillor nominee
could magnify any council imbalance rather than create a more representative
- The current proposals may be viewed
and invite further scrutiny or action from regulators
or aggrieved trust beneficiaries.
- Holyrood and Westminster may take a continuing
councillor majority on SCT into account when deciding on local authority funding.
- We agree that a maximum of two consecutive
terms for trustees is acceptable.
- We accept either a four
for Trustees, but that all trustees should serve
the same length of term.
- We would like the trust to consider phased
elections to maintain trustee continuity, where at any
time the trust would
between recent and more experienced trustees,
as proposed between
appointed and councillor trustees.
- We would like
the Trust to consider mechanisms
for the recall of individual Trustees by beneficiaries
of the Trust by democratic means.
- We believe that the chair of the Charitable
should be independent of Shetland Islands Council.
- We support
the principle that Trustees
reflect the geographical, gender, racial, age
and income diversity which exists within Shetland.
- To this end we would like the Trust to investigate
mechanisms to enable this to happen, including consideration
support, expenses or remuneration within strictly
- We would like the trust to consider mechanisms
to include non-voting, co-opted individuals with
specific areas of
change to the Trust deed should be referred
back to the beneficiaries of the trust for consultation, and
Full Sustainable Shetland response and cover letter here.