The charities regulator OSCR intervened to prevent Shetland Charitable Trust holding a meeting on the next tranche of funding for the Viking Energy windfarm because it was not clear why it was so urgent or that it was in the body’s best interests.
Today’s meeting requisitioned by seven trustees on the £6.3 million was cancelled after the watchdog issued a “direction” to the trust on Friday preventing it making a binding decision on the new trustees who will take up their posts after Thursday’s council elections.
In a statement issued this afternoon OSCR chief executive David Robb said: “Whether or not to invest further in Viking Energy remains a decision for the charity’s trustees.
“However, we have been provided with no information to suggest that this decision has to be made before the constitution of the new board, which is likely to be within a matter of days.
“It is also unclear how making a decision at this point is in the best interests of the charity. Given our ongoing inquiries into the governance of the charity, we considered it appropriate to take precautionary action and stop this decision while we make further inquiries.”
Mr Robb also said the fiasco highlighted the urgency of charitable trust reform. The trust is in the process of moving to dilute the influence of councillors on the charity by introducing a system to allow for seven councillor-trustees and eight appointees.
“This matter underlines our view that the governance of the charity needs to be reformed urgently,” Mr Robb said.
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