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Find out how to apply for consent to reorganise a restricted fund

Restricted Funds Reorganisation is a valuable tool available to charities established in Scotland which can allow charities to :

  • Change the purpose for which the fund(s) may be used and/or
  • Change or remove the conditions imposed on the charity on how it can use the fund(s)

A restricted fund is 'property (including money) given to a charity for a specific purpose and in respect of which conditions have been imposed as to its use'.

The timescale for restricted fund reorganisation applications depends on the 'size' of the funds, as OSCR has discretion to treat smaller funds in a simplified manner, according to the following thresholds:

  • a large restricted fund contains property of more than £1 million or has a gross annual income of more than £100,000
  • a small restricted fund compromises property of £1 million or less and has a gross annual income of £100,000 or less
  • a very small restricted fund does not have any heritable property or shares in a private limited company, and has a gross annual income of less than £1,000.

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

For applications to reorganise 'very small' funds' OSCR is required to make a decision within 13 weeks of receipt of an application.

Before applying to OSCR however, charities should first consider whether they are able to determine the wishes of the donor i.e. 'the person or body who gave the restricted funds to the charity'. If you are able to obtain the donor's permission to amend, vary or remove the restriction(s), OSCR's consent is not required.

OSCR can only approve an application to reorganise a restricted fund if the charity has been unable to ascertain the wishes of the donor.

A restricted funds reorganisation cannot result in the creation or amalgamation of another restricted fund. Charities seeking to bring together restricted funds with similar purposes would have to apply for a scheme to remove all the restrictions on the funds concerned and the funds could then be amalgamated and designed by the charity trustees for a particular purpose.

You can search the Scottish Charity register for current applications 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.

To inform the public of what is proposed, an application summary will generally be published on the OSCR website. This summary of the application will be published on our website for between 28 and 42 days, depending on the nature of the proposed reorganisation scheme. The majority of summaries are published for 28 days only. 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.

Funds which contain property of more than £1 million or have a gross annual income of more than £100,000 (large restricted funds) must advertise in a newspaper or periodical in addition to 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 restricted funds reorganisation.

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