If you want to change your charity's purposes you need OSCR’s consent first.
You cannot make any changes unless and until you get our consent. This is because we need to check that
a) you have the power to change your purposes, and
b) the new purposes are charitable.
To meet the charity test and be a charity in Scotland you must have only charitable purposes.
Your charity’s purposes are set out in your governing document, they may be called ‘purposes’ ‘objects’, ‘aims’ or ‘objectives’.
The purposes in your governing document don’t need to be exactly the same as the charitable purposes in the 2005 Act, but it should be easy to see how they relate to them. Detailed guidance about each purpose and how to write them can be found in our Meeting the Charity Test: Guidance.
Writing charitable purposes
Each purpose you have must fit within at least one of the charitable purposes set out in the 2005 Act. We recommend you get advice on writing your charitable purposes. You could use the following wording to structure your purposes:
‘To advance… [charitable purpose] by… [very brief outline of activities]’
‘To promote… [charitable purpose] by… [very brief outline of activities]’
‘To provide… [charitable purpose] by… [very brief outline of activities]’
‘To relieve… [charitable purpose] by… [very brief outline of activities]’
Yes. Changing the wording of the purposes in the governing document, no matter how minor, is a change to the purposes. Even a small change could mean that the charity no longer has charitable purposes. This would cause it to fail the charity test.
When we get your application to change your purpose(s) we check if:
You can’t make the change until we give you our consent. We aim to give you a decision within 28 days. There are two possible outcomes:
You can now make the change following the rules in your governing document and law governing your legal form. Once you’ve made the change you must notify us within 3 months by sending the information we asked for when we gave consent to make the change.
We will only update your purposes on the Scottish Charity Register once we receive this information.
There are two reasons:
If we refuse consent, we will explain the reasons why and how you can ask us to review our decision, if you disagree. Our review procedures set out in more detail what to expect if you request a review.