Former Comhairle chief stands down from national body

Bill Howat, a prominent figure in Western Isles public life for several years, has stood down as chairman of one of the country’s leading social welfare organisations.

Mr Howat, who was chief executive of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar from 2000 to 2005, has served as chairman of Volunteer Development Scotland (VDS) for the past six years. He said it had been an “honour and a privilege” to chair VDS during a farewell speech to staff and invited guests at the organisation’s headquarters. Mr Howat added: “I have found the last six years, working with VDS, to be challenging, thought-provoking and rewarding. “It is important that we understand what inspires and motivates individual people if we want to get the greatest benefit from volunteering. I am delighted to have played some part in helping to move towards this person-centred approach and am confident VDS will continue to act as a strong advocate for the volunteer in the future.”

Bill Howat, originally from Greenock, worked in the civil service before becoming chief executive of Comhairle Nan Eilean Siar in September 2000. He retired from the post in 2005 and, in addition to his role at VDS, was commissioned by the then Scottish Executive to oversee a review of government spending in Scotland. The published work became known as the Howat Report.