Case 1: an organisation failed to show how it would advance education
We received an application from an organisation which promoted and co-ordinated presentations on a variety of subjects, taking place in relaxed informal settings such as a community hall or pub.
The only qualification for delivering a presentation was that volunteers be passionate about the subject matter and know ‘a fair bit’ about it. No vetting would take place of the presentation or the volunteers’ level of knowledge or expertise.
The community setting and informality of the presentations was not an issue. However, the lack of any direction or structure around the content or educational aims made it hard to demonstrate that the activities would advance education.
We were not satisfied in this case that the activities would advance education. The application to become a charity was refused.
Case 2: an organisation showed how it would advance education overseas
We received an application from an organisation that raises funds to support children to go to primary and secondary school in two adjacent villages in an African country.
We had to decide if the organisation would be advancing education and providing public benefit through this financial support. The organisation gave us information to show that they had an established relationship with the schools identified, processes in place to transfer money, and to monitor progress.
We were satisfied that the organisation intended to advance education. The application to become a charity was successful.
Case 3: an organisation provided evidence of structured educational activities
An organisation applying to become a charity stated that one of its purposes was to advance education through a better understanding of constitutional structures. Its proposed activities included drafting a written constitution for Scotland and ensuring that constitutional change was publicly debated in Scotland.
In our initial status decision, we took the view that the advancement of education was not one of the purposes, since some of the organisation’s activities were intended to persuade people to adopt a particular viewpoint concerning constitutional provision and changes. For this reason among others, we refused to register the organisation as a charity. The organisation asked us to review this decision, providing evidence that its intended activities were structured and based on a balanced and reasoned analysis of evidence on constitutional issues in general rather than simply putting forward a particular political or party-political viewpoint.
On the evidence provided on this and the other issues in question, we revoked our original decision and the application to become a charity was successful.