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Guidance and good practice for Charity Trustees

Published: 04/04/2016
Updated: 01/04/2024

We have updated our guidance to reflect the practical experience of many Scottish charities.

The law and charity trustees duties have not changed.

What we are trying to do is set out in a more straightforward way what charity trustees must consider, so that they meet legal requirements, ensure that their charities are well-run, and avoid some of the common problems that can arise.


You can download a pdf version of the guidance here.

Download a large print version here (point 18 font).

OSCR has also created An Easy Read Guide to being a Charity Trustee. This guidance is written in an 'Easy Read' format and is designed specifically for people who have difficulty reading. There is a British Sign Language version of this guidance available here.

In addition to our written guidance, we have a number of videos which you may find useful on our YouTube channel, including The role of the charity trustee and What changes do Scottish charities need to tell OSCR about? 


This guidance explains what the law says charity trustees must do or must not do. The charity trustee duties are set out in The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 referred to in this Guidance as the 2005 Act.

In this guidance, we explore the general duties and specific duties of charity trustees in the 2005 Act. We give you examples of how these might work and share good practice from our experience as Regulator and from other organisations in the charity sector.

We, the Scottish Charity Regulator, are responsible for regulating Scottish charities and their charity trustees.

Charity Trustee Duties