Third sector

The third sector, which includes charities, social enterprises and voluntary groups, delivers essential services, helps to improve people's wellbeing and contributes to economic growth. It plays a vital role in supporting communities at a local level.


We are supporting and developing the third sector by:


The Christie Commission on public services

In 2011 the Christie commission on the future delivery of public services made several recommendations regarding the reform of Scotland's public services, including the third sector.

Our response, Renewing Scotland's Public Services: priorities for reform in response to the Christie Commission, recognised the role of the third sector, particularly in regard to partnership working, collaborative spend in localities and preventative spend.


Information on employment in the third sector is collected in the Annual Population Survey (APS).

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations' (SCVO) Interactive Evidence Library for the Third Sector in Scotland provides an archive of research documentation relating to the third sector.

Bills and legislation

The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 sets out the framework within which charities and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) must operate.



Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

Third Sector Unit
Scottish Government
Victoria Quay

Back to top