Trustee Information and Guidance Pack - BETA

There are over 100,000 Scottish charity trustees, all of which play a vital role. A charity trustee has clear legal duties to observe, and overall you must act in the charity’s best interests and aim to meet its stated purposes.

This pack is designed to provide you with the knowledge you need to run a charity effectively.

It contains:

  • An overview of what it means to be a charity trustee
  • The key points to running a charity properly
  • Sources of help and advice
  • The OSCR guidance they need to read that is appropriate for their charity.

Please answer the questions below and a trustee pack that is relevant for your charity will be available to download. Remember, we are always updating guidance so we suggest re-doing the questionnaire at least once a year to make sure your suggestions are up to date.



The Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation is a legal form unique to Scottish charities and is able to enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued.



Trading usually involves the sale of goods or services for the purpose of making a profit. Trading can be carried out directly by the charity, if it has the power in its governing document. In some cases it is advisable that any trading is carried out by a trading subsidiary.



There is no legal definition of a Social Enterprise in Scotland, and different stakeholders have their own views about what the characteristics of a social enterprise are. It’s generally recognised that a Social Enterprise is a business and operates on a profit-making basis, putting those profits back into the social mission or purpose of the organisation.



Charities can give grants in different circumstances and for different reasons, as long as it advances their charitable purposes, is in line with their governing document and the 2005 Act.



Our position is that charities can campaign on political issues to advance their charitable purposes, including during electoral periods, as long as the requirements of charity law, and where necessary electoral law, are met.









Most of the charities that operate in both England and Wales and Scotland are registered with OSCR and with the Charity Commission for England and Wales (CCEW), these are known as ‘cross-border’ charities.






Reserves are the funds that your charity has which can be freely spent on any of its charitable purposes.