Strengthening Scottish charity law: analysis of engagement responses

This report presents the independent analysis of responses to the follow-up survey and wider engagement on proposals to strengthen Scottish charity law. The engagement process ran from 20 December 2020 to 19 February 2021.

1. Introduction


1.1 This report presents the independent analysis of responses to the follow-up survey and wider engagement on proposals to Strengthen Scottish Charity Law. The engagement process ran from 20 December 2020 to 19 February 2021.

Prior Consultation

1.2 During early 2019, the Scottish Government launched a three-month public consultation on proposed changes to Scottish Charity Law. That consultation focused on 10 proposals for modernising charity law put forward by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) based on its experience of regulating charities since legislation was introduced in 2005. The proposals broadly focused on two main areas:

  • Improvements to charity law that would increase transparency and accountability in order to maintain public trust and confidence in charities and OSCR.
  • Proposals that would increase regulatory powers for OSCR.

1.3 The Scottish charity law: consultation analysis report was published in July 2019.

1.4 A total of 307 consultation responses were received and the majority of respondents supported all 10 proposals. However, the responses also highlighted areas where greater consideration and discussion was needed before the Scottish Government could decide on the next steps.

Follow-up Engagement

1.5 A follow-up engagement process was undertaken to further develop and refine the proposals consulted on in 2019. This was with a view to providing stakeholders, including the charity sector, with a further opportunity to help the Scottish Government formulate a position on the way forward with Scottish Charity Law.

1.6 The latest engagement did not seek to repeat the earlier consultation process progressed by the Scottish Government. Rather, it sought wide-ranging views and feedback on specific issues raised, to inform the Scottish Government approach. The engagement process included the following strands of activity:

  • An online survey hosted on Citizen Space – this attracted 100 responses.
  • Roundtable discussions hosted by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) and Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations (ACOSVO), involving a range of delegates from the charity sector.
  • A roundtable discussion was held with OSCR's Charities Reference Group.
  • Third Sector Interfaces (TSI) in Scotland were invited to host discussions with their members. Nine responses were received from TSIs, including a joint response from three neighbouring TSIs).

1.7 The findings of the survey and wider engagement process will be used by the Scottish Government to finalise and publish its proposals for the review of Scottish Charity Law.

Report Structure

1.8 Section 2 provides details of the engagement methodology and responses.

1.9 Strand A: enhancing transparency and accountability in Scottish charities is covered in:

  • Section 3: Proposal 1 - Publishing annual reports and accounts in full for all charities on the Scottish Charity Register.
  • Section 4: Proposal 2 - An internal database and external register of charity trustees.
  • Section 5: Proposal 3 - Criteria for automatic disqualification of charity trustees and individuals in senior management positions in charities.

1.10 Strand B: increased regulatory powers for OSCR is covered in:

  • Section 6: Proposal 4 - A power to issue positive directions to charities.
  • Section 7: Proposal 5 - Removal of Charities from the Scottish Charity Register that are persistently failing to submit annual reports and accounts and may no longer exist.
  • Section 8: Proposal 6 - All charities in the Scottish Charity Register to have and retain a connection in Scotland.

1.11 Section 9 provides a summary overview of key messages arising from the discussion events.



Back to top