supporting, developing and representing community groups,
voluntary organisations, social enterprises and volunteering
Scottish Government publishes new Bill on charity regulation
The Scottish Government has published a new Bill aimed at strengthening the powers of Scotland's Charities Regulator (OSCR).
The Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill will, if adopted, enhance OSCR's ability to regulate charities operating in Scotland while also making the sector more transparent to the public. Among other proposals, the Bill will:
require all charities registered in Scotland to publish their annual accounts;
introduce a register of charity trustees, making more easily accessible the details of who's in control;
create a record of removed trustees, informing organisations of risks in taking potential bad actors onto their governing body;
strengthen OSCR's power to give positive directions to a charity to take (or refrain from taking) a course of action; and
allow OSCR to remove charities that are in persistent breach of their obligations to OSCR.
The proposal would represent the most significant change to Scottish Charity Law since the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, which introduced- among other things- the Scottish Charities Register, OSCR and the Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) into Scots law. The Bill was drafted following extensive consultation in 2019 and 2021.
Fife Voluntary Action welcomes the proposed changes and contributed to the consultation to that effect. Our extensive experience of working with charities on issues around governance and charity law has demonstrated to us the need for more transparency and accountability in charity management and, in particular, the need for OSCR's regulatory powers to be sharpened. The proposals will have a clear and immediate impact on the standard of governance in the sector.
Any changes brought in by this Bill will likely not be immediate, but if you want to make sure your charity or other third section organisation is compliant and well-governed, consider attending one of our training sessions on the Roles and Responsibilities of a Trustee/Director/Board Member: