Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill: business and regulatory impact assessment

Business and regulatory impact assessment for the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill.


The Bill presents a package of proposals aimed at increasing transparency and accountability in charities, improving to OSCR's powers and bringing Scottish charity legislation up to date with key aspects of charity regulation in England and Wales and Northern Ireland. Although some proposals are more closely linked than others, they are all essentially independent therefore the choice in each case was simply whether to include the proposal in the Bill or not. With this in mind each proposal has been examined as a separate option in this assessment with a single "do nothing" alternative for the full Bill.

Option 1: Do Nothing

This option would mean that the current legislation would remain as it is and no additional or strengthening of powers would be provided to OSCR. This would mean that the risks identified below and throughout this assessment would persist and the benefits would not be realised.

Stakeholder expectations of primary legislation have been raised by the four previous PfG commitments and widespread support in the 2019 consultation responses (307 responses). The 2019 consultation publicly highlighted some deficiencies with current charity regulation and OSCR's powers, especially when compared to other charity regulators in the UK.

The 2005 Act is now 17 years old and many feel that the charity sector has moved on significantly in this time but that the legislation in Scotland (as opposed to other parts of the UK) has remained largely static. In addition, the safeguarding agenda has brought issues around transparency and misconduct in charities into sharp relief and measures aimed at strengthening legislation to ensure OSCR are equipped to help prevent, identify and deal with risk and to act preventatively have merit.

Changes have already been made to charity legislation across the rest of the UK. Further changes to charity law in other parts of the UK are possible, which would widen the gap between regimes further in areas where consistency would be beneficial. This disparity opens Scotland to risk of our charity sector being abused or the regulator being seen as a 'soft touch.'

For these reasons we can conclude that this option is not suitable.

Sectors and groups affected-



Beneficiaries of charities



This option would maintain the status quo. The Scottish charity regulation system does have important strengths, however with the advancement of changes to charity law across the rest of the UK, changes are required to maintain the efficacy of Scotland's Charity Regulator. The Scottish Government has committed to bringing forward these changes to charity law in the legislative programme of the 22-23 Programme for Government. Accordingly, no benefits have been identified relating to this option.



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