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Whistleblowing disclosures made to OSCR

03 Dec 2018

The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a 'prescribed person' under the Public Interest Disclosure Act 1998 (PIDA). This means we are allowed to accept disclosures from people who carry out paid work for a charity. In our role as Regulator of all Scottish charities, we work to make sure that charity trustees comply with their legal duties in controlling and managing the administration of their charities.

This report sets out information about the disclosures made to us as a prescribed person in 2017-18, what we did with the information in the disclosures and how they contributed to the impact of our regulatory work.

OSCR has a number of functions set out in The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (2005 Act). We must:

  • Determine whether bodies are charities.
  • Keep a public Register of charities.
  • Encourage, facilitate and monitor compliance by charities with the provisions of the Act.
  • Identify and investigate apparent misconduct in the administration of charities and to take remedial or protective action in relation to such misconduct.
  • Give information or advice, or to make proposals, to Scottish Ministers on matters relating to OSCR's functions.

Our strategic objectives for 2017-20 are:

  • Help the public to have more confidence in charities
  • Help charity trustees to understand and comply with their legal duties
  • Keep registration and reporting straightforward and proportionate
  • Continually improve the way we operate and deliver services to all of our stakeholders.

Whistleblowing facts and figures:
Our regulatory priorities are set out in our Risk Framework.  When we receive a whistleblowing disclosure we assess it in the light of our Risk Framework and in line with our Whistleblowing guidance and our Inquiry Policy.

We received seven (7) whistleblowing reports in 2017-18:

  • Four (4) of these led to OSCR opening an inquiry using our powers under section 28 of the 2005 Act and using our other statutory powers as appropriate.  Two (2) of these inquiries are still ongoing.
  • Three (3) of the reports were considered not appropriate for OSCR to take forward as a formal inquiry.

The impact on our work
The reports we have received from whistleblowers this year have helped us to:

  • Identify regulatory concerns
  • Take action to protect charity assets and beneficiaries
  • Identify risks to charities and to the charity sector that would not otherwise have come to light without the protection afforded to whistleblowers.

Whistleblowing disclosures help us identify and prevent concerns within the sector and help charities to put things right, and supports OSCR to underpin public trust and confidence in the charity sector.

Find out more about how OSCR deals with whistleblowing concerns in our guidance.