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How OSCR handles concerns about charities

03 Feb 2020

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has updated its guidance on inquiry and compliance activity.

This guidance explains how we handle concerns about charities. It also explains our role as a regulator, the types of concerns we deal with and what charities and other people involved can expect when concerns arise about a charity.

Since the last version of our guidance was published in 2014 there have been a number of developments in OSCR and the sector. Our new guidance reflects the way we now assess and act on intelligence about charities, including:

  • the different sources of intelligence for concerns about charities
  • our risk assessment process
  • the full range of outcomes that someone can expect when they raise a concern with us
  • informal compliance activity with charities as well as formal inquiry work
  • whistleblowing
  • our use (particularly sharing) of information.

You can view our updated guidance here.

If you have a concern about a Scottish charity, you should complete the online form on our website.

OSCR’s Head of Casework, Martin Tyson, said,

“In most cases, charity trustees comply with their duties very well. When something goes wrong, and they have not addressed the situation effectively, it may be necessary for OSCR to intervene.

“Our new guidance explains how we decide whether or not to get involved, the different ways that we engage with charities where there is a concern, what action we can take where we find issues, and how we will communicate with those involved.

“Remember, if you have a concern about a Scottish charity, OSCR wants to hear from you. We have an easy to complete concern form on our website and this guidance should help you understand exactly what the next steps will be when you get it touch.”




Background information

  • The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a non-ministerial office and part of the Scottish Administration following commencement of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005. We are the regulator and registrar for over 24,800 Scottish charities including community groups, religious charities, schools, universities, grant-giving charities and major care providers. Our work as Regulator ultimately supports public confidence in charities and their work.
  • We are independent of Scottish Government and report directly to the Scottish Parliament every year.
  • In the business year 2018-19, OSCR received 506 concerns. 124 of the concerns reported to OSCR in this time resulted in follow-up activity.
  • OSCR receives concerns from many different sources. These are detailed in the guidance. We apply the same risk assessment process to all concerns.