Strong interest in charity annual reports and accounts

22 Aug 2017

Charity reports and accounts viewed nearly 12,500 times on Regulator’s website in recent months.

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has published figures that reflect the strong interest in the reports and accounts of Scottish charities.

They show that from April to July 2017, there were 12,455 views of charity accounts published by the Regulator on its website. In total, annual reports and accounts from over 4,300 different charities were viewed.

The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 allows anyone to receive a copy of a charity’s annual reports and accounts on request. In April 2016, OSCR started to publish the reports and accounts of all charities with an income of £25,000 or more and all SCIOs. The Regulator felt that publishing these reports and accounts would stimulate higher levels of transparency across the sector.

As of August 2017, 9,300 charities have a set of redacted annual reports and accounts on OSCR’s website.

However, this is not the only way that the public can view charity reports and accounts. Charites also have the option to provide a link to this information on their own website. So far, over 2,000 charities have chosen to do so. In many ways, this is the best option for charities, as they can publish the information without the redaction that OSCR is required to make due to data protection legislation. They can also choose to include other information on the webpage holding the accounts to show the positive impact of their work. The Regulator, therefore, recommends that charities choose to provide a link when they can for even greater transparency.

OSCR Chief Executive David Robb said,

“Charities need to be aware of the strong interest in their reports and accounts and they should use their reports as a platform to show their impact.

“Making this information available to the public has been a worthwhile innovation for the Regulator:  we know how important transparency is in building public trust.

“We hope that charities will continue to support this work by putting their annual reports and accounts on their own website. This will allow them to provide more information about the work they are doing and the positive impact they have in their communities. 

“To help charities better demonstrate their impact through reporting, we will be providing further guidance on producing Trustee Annual Reports in the coming months.”