Reorganisation of your charity

Find out about reorganising your charity.

Charity reorganisation is a valuable tool for charities in Scotland to release unused funds back into the charity sector. It also allows charities that do not have the power to make changes to apply to us for the authority to do so.

This section sets out how to apply to us to reorganise your charity. To find out about reorganising a restricted fund, please read our Restricted Funds Reorganisation page.

A proposed reorganisation of a charity is called a reorganisation scheme.

Charity reorganisation schemes

There are three types of charity reorganisation scheme.

  1. A variation of the terms of your charity's constitution (whether or not in relation to its purposes).
  2. A transfer of your charity's property (after satisfaction of liabilities) to another charity (whether or not involving a change to the purposes of the other charity).
  3. An amalgamation of your charity with another charity.  You can find more information about this on our Amalgamating Your Charity page.

The timescale for reorganisation applications depends on the size of the charity, as charity law gives us the discretion to treat smaller charities in a simpler way according to the following thresholds:

  • 'large charity' means a charity with a gross annual income of £250,000 or more
  • 'small charity' means a charity with a gross annual income of less than £250,000: and
  • 'very small charity' means a small charity whose assets do not include any heritable property or shares in a private limited company, and with a gross annual income of less than £1,000.

Applications to reorganise 'large' and 'small' charities take an average of 6 months to complete. You should allow for this when preparing your application.

For applications to reorganise 'very small' charities, OSCR must make a decision within 13 weeks of receiving the application.

You can search the Scottish Charity Register for current application to reorganise, including restricted funds reorganisations. To view the list of charities please select the 'Reorganising Charities Only' tick box (from the Scottish Charity Register search) and then Search.

Charity trustees of charities registered in Scotland and established under Scots law can apply to OSCR to have a charity reorganisation scheme approved.

Some categories of charities cannot use the reorganisation process. This includes some (but not all) charities whose constitution is an Act of Parliament, a Royal Warrant or an Order of the Privy Council (a 'statutory enactment'). 

Please contact OSCR if you have any queries as to whether your charity can use the reorganisation process.

To inform the public of what is proposed, an application summary will generally be published on the OSCR website for a period not exceeding 42 days. However, OSCR has the discretion to apply a simplified procedure to applications from very small charities, in which case the proposed scheme will not be published.

Charities with an income of £250,000 (or more) must advertise in a newspaper or periodical as well as OSCR publishing a summary of their proposal.

A representation is a comment about a proposed reorganisation that can either support or oppose the proposal. Read our How to Make a Representation page to find out how you can make a representation in relation to a proposed charity reorganisation.

OSCR can either approve or refuse a charity reorganisation scheme. If OSCR approves a scheme, the charity's trustees are responsible for the reorganisation of the charity and must notify OSCR when the charity's reorganisation is complete.

If OSCR refuses a scheme, the charity's trustees can ask for this decision to be reviewed by someone not involved in the original decision.

If dissatisfied with the outcome of this internal review, the charity can appeal to the Scottish Charity Appeals Panel (SCAP), and ultimately to the Court of Session.