Publication - Consultation paper

Scottish charity law: consultation

Published: 7 Jan 2019

This consultation seeks views on potential improvements to the statutory charity regulation framework in Scotland.

26 page PDF

417.9 kB

26 page PDF

417.9 kB

Contents
Scottish charity law: consultation
Section 9: The speed and efficiency of OSCR's powers to gather information when making inquiries

26 page PDF

417.9 kB

Section 9: The speed and efficiency of OSCR’s powers to gather information when making inquiries

73. OSCR can legally require any person (third party) to provide information which it considers necessary for its inquiries about charities. If OSCR requests such information about a charity from a third party, it must also give notice to the charity in question that it is the subject of the request, and provide the charity with the right to review.

74. However, the legislation does not take account of situations where the body in respect of which information is sought is not a charity. For example OSCR cannot serve such a notice on:

  • a body or individual that is misrepresenting themselves as a charity,
  • bodies which are no longer charities in respect of property they had at the time of removal from the Register,
  • former trustees of charities which have ceased to exist.

75. The effect of this is that OSCR cannot require a third party to provide information as it cannot serve the required notice on a charity. This potentially hinders OSCR inquiries as it cannot access all the information it may require.

76. One solution is to give OSCR the power to give the required notice to a body or individual that is misrepresenting themselves as a charity, bodies which are no longer charities and former trustees of charities which have ceased to exist.

Question 20. Should OSCR be given the power to give the required notice of a request for information to a body or individual that is misrepresenting themselves as a charity, that is no longer charity, and to former trustees of a charity which has ceased to exist?

Yes

No

Please explain in the box below why you think yes or no:

77. In the situations where OSCR is requesting information from a third party about a charity to help with its inquiries, and there is a charity to notify that they have made the request, OSCR must adhere to certain notice periods.

78. The notice periods are:

  • OSCR must give the charity that is subject of the request for information 14 days’ notice of its decision to request the information from the third party.
  • Within 21 days of receiving that notice, the charity can request OSCR to review its decision to request the information.
  • OSCR must, within 21 days of such a request, review the decision and give notice of the outcome of the review to the charity.

79. The legislation could perhaps be clearer on:

  • whether all three notice periods need to have expired in full (i.e. 56 days) before OSCR can see the information from the third party; and
  • whether a charity, which does not request a review within 21 days of receiving the notice, can see the information from the third party once that 21 day period has expired.

80. As there is potential ambiguity in the legislation, OSCR’s current approach is to wait for all three time periods to expire in full before viewing the information from the third party. This potentially increases the amount of time it takes for OSCR to make its inquiries, which can be detrimental to all parties involved.

81. An option is to clarify that these time periods can overlap. This could reduce the time it takes for OSCR to make inquiries as it would have access to the information it needs sooner.

Question 21. Should it be clarified that the notice periods to charities that are subject to a request for information can overlap?

Yes

No

Please explain in the box below why you think yes or no:

Contact

Email: Claire McHarrie