Report by Dean of Guild
- Meeting of Guildry and Mortification Funds Committee, Monday, 14th April, 2014 2.00 pm (Item 4.)
- View the background to item 4.
The Sub Committee had before it a report by the Dean of Guild which discussed the use of the Guildry funds.
The report explained that the Burgesses of the Guild of the City of Aberdeen were about to celebrate the granting of a Royal Charter by King Alexander II who came to the throne in 1214. The precise date of granting was not known however a programme of events was planned to celebrate this important landmark in the history of Aberdeen’s oldest civic body.
The report highlighted that concern had been expressed that because the amounts paid to Burgesses (or widows of) were de minimis in relation to the total funds, and that no awards had been sought nor claimed from the Guildry Award Scheme in the past three years, that the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) could consider that the Burgesses of Guild no longer qualified as a charitable body, which would have adverse consequences for the Guild and its funds.
Therefore, the report put forward the following proposals for consideration:-
(1) that a one off payment of £500 be made to all current recipients of payments from the Guildry funds - this would be by way of a heating allowance at a time when people were suffering hardship in meeting such bills, and this should not affect other benefits;
(2) under the Guildry Award Scheme, payment of annual scholarships be made to students at Aberdeen University, The Robert Gordon University and the Saltire Society, and that the annual amount payable under the scheme be increased to a maximum of £20,000. The criteria for qualification would be the same as the current award scheme and ordinary applications to the current award scheme would still be considered but the scheme would be better administered and more widely advertised;
(3) in recognition of the forthcoming 800th anniversary of the granting of the Royal Charter for the Burgesses of Guild and the City of Aberdeen, that a one off competition be held for charities in Aberdeen requiring assistance with projects of a capital nature, with the suggestion that three awards be made of £10,000, £6,000 and £4,000, with charities applying for these by submitting an application detailing the project and what the award would be used for; and
(4) that funding be made available for the creation of a coat of arms for the Burgesses of Guild.
The Dean of Guild advised that he had since consulted officers in Finance who advised that benefit in kind would be more appropriate than a financial payment in terms of (1) above, and that the proposals would require further work with a more detailed report to be submitted to a future meeting for consideration, with final approval to be sought from the Council. He added that a review of the Burgesses of Guild constitution was due to be undertaken and that this would include a review of equality issues, as had been raised by the Sub Committee. He concluded that he would be working closely with his successor in order to bring these matters to fruition.
The Sub Committee resolved:-
(i) to note the report meantime, expressing support for the general principles contained within it; and
(ii) to request the Dean of Guild to report back to a future meeting of the Sub Committee in more detail.