Shetland charity to reform its board after three-year stand-off

Shetland Charitable Trust tells David Robb, boss of Scottish regulator, it will implement changes

David Robb, chief executive of the OSCR
David Robb, chief executive of the OSCR

Trustees at one of the largest charitable trusts in Scotland have cancelled plans for a referendum on reform after they were told to do so by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The Shetland Charitable Trust, which has assets of more than £200m, was told by OSCR to reform its board to increase its independence more than three years ago. Of the 22 members of the trust’s board, 21 are Shetland Islands councillors.

The board has not since reformed, and in September it said a referendum should be held to ask people in Shetland what should happen to it.

David Robb, chief executive of the OSCR, wrote to the trustees last month accusing the trust of misconduct and saying it had 14 days to confirm that the referendum would not be held. Trustees were also given 28 days to provide the OSCR with a timetable for implementing the required changes to the charity’s constitution.

Ann Black, general manager of the Shetland Charitable Trust, said that the trustees had cancelled plans for a referendum yesterday, a day before the 14-day deadline. She said trustees had also confirmed that they would be holding another meeting next week to plan a timetable for the changes.

Robb said: "Shetland Charitable Trust has now responded, giving us an undertaking to comply with the requirements set out in our letter of 24 November. We welcome this positive response and are pleased that the immediate prospect of enforcement action has been lifted.

"We very much hope that the necessary trust reforms will now proceed quickly. We will remain in close contact with the charity in support of that process."

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