Case 1: we removed an organisation from the Register as Ministers clearly had powers of direction
An organisation, which had been recognised as a charity under previous law, had a governing document that said:
- Scottish Ministers could issue directions to the organisation, and
- the organisation had to comply with those directions.
The organisation’s governing document clearly gave Scottish Ministers the power to direct its activities, and there was no limit on how and when they could do so. There was no prospect of changing the governing document.
We considered that the governing document allowed Ministers to direct the charity’s activities. We removed the charity from the Scottish Charity Register.
Case 2: Ministers disapplied part of the charity test to keep a charity on the Register
A different organisation had a very similar governing document to the organisation listed in Case 1. Ministers could remove the charity’s trustees whenever they wished, and the charity had to seek consent for certain financial transactions.
We considered that the organisation’s governing document would give Ministers the power to control the charity’s activities, and that could therefore not be registered as a charity. However, Ministers made an order to disapply this part of the charity test, as the law allows them to do.
The organisation continues to be registered as a charity.
Case 3: we decided that Ministers did not control a charity’s activities
A UK-wide organisation applied for charitable status in Scotland. Its governing document gave UK Ministers a number of powers over the organisation.
We considered the powers the governing document gave Ministers. For instance, Ministers could direct the organisation to make reports and proposals in certain circumstances, and the organisation had to ask Ministers’ consent to borrow or invest some of its funds. However, the organisation was funded by contributions from bodies which benefited from its activities, and its governing document gave those other bodies considerable influence in how the organisation was run. Looking at the whole picture of how the organisation’s governing document worked, we felt that the influence of these other bodies meant that Ministers’ ability to control or direct the organisation’s activities was limited.
We considered that the governing document did not allow Ministers to control the organisation’s activities. The organisation passed the charity test, and the application to become a charity was successful.