Charity

We have been tracking the progress of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator’s (“OSCR”) Targeted Regulation consultation since the commencement of the public consultation back in 2014.

The consultation itself largely focused on changes to four main categories:-

  • articulating your organisation’s work and governance- annual reporting
  • publishing of charity accounts on the Scottish Charity Register
  • a charity trustee database – on which OSCR has listened to the consultation feedback and placed very much on the backburner
  • “Serious Incident Reporting”, which has now become “Notifiable Events”

Picture of a megaphoneThrough this process to a new form of regulation OSCR is seeking to promote good governance, increase transparency, use its resources in a more targeted manner and make reporting easier for organisations.

Given the recent highly publicised dialogue regarding the management of charity data and regulation of charity fundraising (on which we have been blogging), the Targeted Regulation changes should hopefully be welcomed (and experienced in practice) as a positive step forward for improved charity governance and increased public confidence in our third sector.

In order to maximise the benefits of the new Target Regulation regime, OSCR is actively encouraging all charities to sign up to its online platform which can be used to easily and efficiently report changes to OSCR, submit annual accounts and annual returns etc.

Nearly 80% of Scottish charities are currently using OSCR’s online services, however now is the time to sign up if you haven’t already!

What will Targeted Regulation mean?

From 1st April 2016 you will start to see some of the Targeted Regulation changes being publicised. Using its online interface OSCR will:

  • increase the information made available on the Scottish Charity Register by starting to publish annual reports and accounts for larger income charities and Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (“SCIOs”)
  • start to use a new and improved annual return form, where we will see some changes to the questions asked of the charity trustees (reporting requirements for smaller charities will however be kept to a minimum)
  • launch a new ‘notifiable events’ procedure which will require charities to alert OSCR of matters such as fraud, allegations of abuse, investigation by other agencies (e.g investigations by HMRC or the police) or substantial donations from an unknown source

OSCR will of course publish more helpful information closer to the launch date about the Target Regulation changes and we will be tracking developments and keeping you up to date.

For more information on the consultation, please contact our charities team – Christine O’Neill, Brenda Scott, Eric Galbraith, Alan Eccles, Paul McMahon, Helen Nelson or Ruth Saunders.

You can now also follow our new charity law updates at @BCharitable on Twitter.

Helen Kidd

Helen Kidd

Associate at Brodies LLP
Helen is a Associate in our Personal & Family team. She specialises in charity law matters, providing governance and legal advice to charities and other third sector organisations, individuals and companies, such as family foundations, housing associations, community groups, social care providers, museums and culture bodies and sports organisations.In addition to, and often alongside, charities and philanthropic work, Helen also has wide experience in dealing with family and related business succession planning, trust law advice, preparation of Wills and Powers of Attorney and executry (probate) administration.
Helen Kidd