The general secretary of the Scottish Trades Union Congress (STUC) is to hold a summit with senior figures in his organisation over his lucrative outside interests.

Grahame Smith made the offer last week after it was pointed out his counterpart south of the Border, Frances O’Grady, would not benefit financially if she sat on public boards.

The STUC’s governing general council (GC) last year considered the “adequacy” of the processes for board appointments for members of its secretariat, which includes Smith, and members of the GC.

A committee was asked to map the bodies the STUC is represented on, review procedures for agreeing and reporting outside positions, propose a process where invitations are cleared by the GC, and create a register of interest for senior STUC figures. The committee was also asked to review the remuneration packages received by figures including Smith and look at how the monies could best be recouped for the STUC.

However, a paper drawn up for the committee flagged up difficulties with ideas such as recovering fees and requiring clearance for outside posts.

The paper was expected to be considered at a meeting of the GC last week, but it is understood Smith proposed discussing the issues with office-bearers at a separate meeting. This was agreed.

One insider said an important factor was the claim that O’Grady, who leads the TUC, would not get paid if she sat on boards. The source believes reform in the STUC is now “inevitable”. The committee paper, leaked to this newspaper, irked supporters of reform as they believed it placed obstacles in the way of change.

Regarding future procedures for the GC to clear invitations to serve on bodies, the paper sounded a cautious note: “If the general council wishes to introduce such conditions, including sanctions in relation to non-compliance, it will have to consider the contractual issues involved.”

The paper continued: “This will require an agreed or imposed variation to the current contractual arrangements between the general secretary/secretariat and the STUC and will require to be reasonable and proportionate and consistent with fair work principles.”

On the issue of outside remuneration packages, the paper appeared to suggest any solution could be a long way off: “Until all the bodies on which the STUC is represented have been mapped, a register of interest established, the constitutional issues clarified and variations to the current contractual arrangements between the general secretary/secretariat and the STUC agreed or imposed, it will not be possible to determine existing remuneration packages.” It added that, at present, outside remuneration is only available in relation to appointments over which the STUC/GC has “no locus”.