Scottish regulator ceases monitoring of Shetland Charitable Trust

New board has a majority of independent trustees, which removes the previous apparent conflict of interest

The Shetlands
The Shetlands

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has ended its proactive monitoring of one of Scotland’s largest charities after several years.

The OSCR began in 2009 to monitor the Shetland Charitable Trust, which has an annual income of more than £10m and assets of more than £200m, because of concerns about conflicts of interest. The trust makes grants and donations to individuals and organisations based in Shetland.

The regulator said in a statement that it had received complaints from the public about conflicts of interest in investment decisions taken by the charity’s trustees, which consisted of 21 councillors and two independent trustees.

Last year, although it had previously refused to change its governance structure, the charity sent the OSCR a proposal for constitutional change, which included having a board of seven councillor trustees and eight independent trustees.

In February this year, eight independent trustees joined the board and in June the regulator wrote to trustees to inform them that it had closed its inquiry. In a statement, the regulator said: "In February this year, the newly constituted trustee board of the Shetland Charitable Trust met for the first time.

"The new board has a majority of non-councillor trustees, removing the apparent conflict of interest that had existed for a number of years. As a result, we have now removed the proactive monitoring regime that we imposed in 2009."

Bobby Hunter, the chairman of the Shetland Charitable Trust, said in a statement that he was pleased by the decision. He said: "Previous trustees deserve thanks for all the hard work they put into devising the new structure and the difficult decisions they took.

"The new trust has picked up where they left off and will be strong in pursuing the trust’s interests while complying with the regulator."

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Shetland Charitable Trust

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