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.