Third sector

The third sector includes charities, social enterprises and community groups which deliver essential services, helps to improve people's wellbeing and contributes to economic growth.

We work in partnership with the third sector, which plays a vital role in supporting communities and in transforming and delivering person-centred services. 


We are supporting the sector by:

  • progressing our Fairer Funding commitment
  • ensuring an effective regulatory environment for charities
  • promoting volunteering
  • supporting social enterprises and helping the sector to grow
  • funding key infrastructure and programmes designed to support and engage the wider third sector 
  • supporting the production of evidence on the sector, its contribution and challenges it faces


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 and the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Act 2023 set out the framework within which charities and the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) must operate.



Phone: 0300 244 4000 – Central Enquiry Unit

Back to top