OSCR Digital Strategy 2023-26

This digital strategy aims to support OSCR’s risk-based regulatory activities and deliver a quality service for charities in Scotland, while developing and nurturing an efficient, motivated, and flexible workforce. It will promote increased trust in Scottish charities and support charities to improve and retain public confidence by complying with their regulatory responsibilities.

Our strategic priorities

OSCR’s five overarching strategic priorities for the next three years, as detailed in our Corporate Strategy are:

  • To ensure the public have access to the information they need about charities in Scotland and how they are regulated.
  • To provide charities with the tools and guidance they need to meet regulatory obligations.
  • To deliver smart, responsive and effective regulation that positively impacts on Scotland’s charity sector and its beneficiaries.
  • To focus on our people and have a motivated, flexible and well supported workforce.
  • To maintain a focus on best value, continuous improvement and collaboration.


The Scottish Charity Regulator will regulate in a way which builds trust and confidence in Scottish charities, holds charities to account and strengthens their ability to positively contribute to society.

Our objectives

Our digital strategy for 2023-26 will build on the considerable digital work undertaken since our previous digital strategy, reflecting the societal and work changes following the Covid pandemic. To achieve this, the objectives of our 2023-26 Digital Strategy are to:

  • Improve the customer experience for charities and individuals who use our services.
  • Develop systems to allow staff to complete tasks more quickly (increasing productivity), while also reducing the time it takes to do individual tasks (improving efficiency) ensure our digital security is in line with best practice in the public sector.

How we will achieve this

We will achieve this within the wider context of public service reform by:

  • Exploiting the full capability of our key digital tools:
    • Developing and implementing product development roadmaps
    • Improving staff training
    • Responding to stakeholder feedback
  • Improving the connectivity of our digital services, making them work better together
  • Engaging with Scottish Government and other bodies in the shared services agenda


Measuring progress

We will know that we have made progress when:

  • The customer satisfaction score for our key products increases
  • All staff are trained and confident in effectively using our key digital products, and able to suggest where efficiencies could be made.
  • We achieve formal accreditation of our digital security infrastructure and policies
  • We have reduced the overall number of suppliers and providers we use in respect of the provision of digital services



Our plan

Our digital work will support the delivery of OSCR's five main priorities, as well as ensuring we have safe and secure digital systems. You can read more about how we will deliver this, and the benefits it will bring, in the sections below.

Building secure digital foundations

To support these goals, our priority will be to ensure that our data and digital systems are safe and secure.

Our digital security strategy which was developed in November 2022, states:

Effective cyber security is crucial in ensuring that OSCR is able to carry out our work efficiently, and that we are able to perform our regulatory duties as set out in the legislation.

Effective security is also vital in ensuring the public and charities trust OCSR with their information, some of which is special category data (including racial or ethnic origin, religious and philosophical beliefs).

A cyber-attack could potentially have very serious consequences, both in terms of disrupting our work of providing effective regulation of the sector, in causing potential harm to the charities we regulate, their staff, trustees and beneficiaries, and through damage to the OSCR’s own reputation (which may in turn undermine our ability to be an effective regulator).

That’s why we commit to the following mitigations to manage this significant risk:

  • Conducting an annual review of our security arrangements and business continuity plans in association with our IT Support contractor.
  • Embedding appropriate cyber-security requirements in our procurement processes.
  • Mandatory staff training on digital and data security, conducted on an annual basis.

In addition, throughout the life of this strategy we will demonstrate our commitment to managing this risk by achieving Cyber Essentials Plus accreditation annually.

The public have access to the information they need about charities

We will ensure the public have access to the information OSCR holds, that they need – relating to charities in Scotland and how they are regulated.

We will maintain an accurate register and increase the level of information we provide to stakeholders about charities, using our new powers under the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Bill. This will help to provide everyone with an informed view of Scotland’s charities.

We will

  • Continue work with our staff and suppliers to maintain an accurate charity register which provides stakeholders with up to date, useful information about Scotland’s charities.
  • Securely share the data we gather about charities with stakeholders involved in planning, legislating and working with charities.
  • Use and share our experience and data to inform the wider discussion on charities and regulation promised by Scottish Ministers.

Should the relevant funding be made available:

  • Develop, and deliver a register of trustees of Scottish charities as required by the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Act 2023.
  • Provide access to all charity accounts as required by the Charity Act 2023


By ensuring that the public has access to accurate, relevant information on the register, we will contribute towards our goals of:

  • Maintaining public confidence in Scotland’s charities
  • Allowing people to be better informed about the work of individual charities
  • Supporting the work of external organisations who work with charitable organisations in Scotland

Provide charities with the tools and guidance they need

We will provide charities with the tools and guidance they need to meet regulatory obligations.

By making charities’ interactions with OSCR digital by default, improving accessibility of information on our website, and targeting our engagement activity, we will better equip charities to fulfil their obligations.

We will

  • Help charities improve what they do by increasing the self-evaluation and assurance capability of our annual return process.
  • Review the customer journeys taken by charities and OSCR’s stakeholders and work to ensure that services they use are simple, accessible and efficient and impact as positively as possible on charities’ compliance.


  • Improving the automatic support and feedback available to charities when they complete their annual return, should ensure greater levels of regulatory compliance and self-sufficiency for charity trustees.
  • Reviewing customer journeys will allow us to understand how to simplify the experience for charities and others, and to find ways to improve the efficiencies and effectiveness of our processes.

Deliver smart, responsive and effective regulation

We will deliver smart, responsive and effective regulation that positively impacts on Scotland’s charity sector and its beneficiaries.

By increasing our use of technology, being explicit about what to expect when submitting information to us and targeting our regulation, we will make sure we have the right resources to focus on our core activities and to use our powers to hold charities to account where required.

We will

  • Develop a roadmap for the future development of our digital services. This will set out our priorities for future developments to OSCR Online, including the incorporation of other services that are currently delivered using other systems and processes.
  • Where it’s preferable, look to increase the use of automated solutions to complete routine interactions and updates from charities, so that well-run, compliant charities can get on with their business with minimal demand from us.
  • Continue our work to support a greater level of automation of our business processes though the development of workflows. We will ensure that OSCR staff understand the principles behind automation; can identify opportunities for expansion, and that we develop and maintain a skilled internal resource who can carry out the necessary development work.
  • We will investigate how the use of artificial intelligence (AI) can support our work and seek to implement these solutions where appropriate.


  • We will increase regulatory compliance.
  • We will improve overall organisational productivity and efficiency.
  • We will maintain high levels of support from the charity sector.

Focus on our people

We will focus on our people and seek to develop a motivated, flexible and well-supported workforce. We will support our people to the best they can be by continually building individual and team capabilities, ensuring the organisation is agile when reviewing priorities, listening to everyone’s ideas and maintaining a hybrid working environment to provide flexibility in how work is carried out.

We will

  • Develop the capabilities of our staff, aligning individual goals with business priorities to ensure that we can collectively continue to meet the changing needs of the organisation.

We will specifically deliver:

  • Digital Security training for all staff
  • OSCR Online training for all staff
  • Training in respect of all new digital developments
  • Objective workflow training including the support for groups of staff across OSCR
  • Objective Hub training to provide a standard comprehensive induction for all staff on this tool
  • A policy on the safe and appropriate use of AI tools


  • These actions will ensure that OSCR’s staff are well-trained, supported, and have a high degree of understanding of the digital tools at their disposal, so that they are better able to use these to their full capacity and identify opportunities for further improvement.
  • This approach will allow staff to work more quickly, reduce the time it takes to complete tasks and processes support our work to increase the overall levels of engagement in OSCR’s staff team.

Focus on best value, continuous improvement and collaboration

We will maintain a focus on best value, continuous improvement and collaboration.

To ensure OSCR is as effective and efficient as possible we will review how we manage our contracts and share services with other public sector bodies. The overall regulation of charities will be improved by removing duplication where charities are regulated by multiple bodies, through defined agreements with other regulatory bodies.

We will

  • Play our part in exploring the potential of public service reform by proactively working with other public sector bodies to share best practice and find common solutions to the challenges we all face.
  • We will also seek to ensure that we deliver best value for our service users and beneficiaries. We can do this by a combination of adding value to our processes (e.g. providing actionable feedback to build on best practice and improve regulatory compliance) and by making our processes more efficient and less time consuming for those who require to work with us.

In this period, we will also:

  • Streamline our approach to procurement, to deliver contract management efficiencies and simpler, more transparent and consistent contract management.
  • Procure new contracts for:
    • IT Support
    • Web Development
    • Hosting
  • Review the level of shared services between us, the Scottish Government and other public bodies, and identify other best value opportunities.
  • Work with other regulator and umbrella bodies to identify best practice and identify opportunities for sharing and collaborating eg. in the use of AI
  • Support the implementation of the new SG Oracle cloud systems for finance and HR


  • Less time spent on contract management, and more time on developing operational efficiencies.
  • Cost savings generated by sharing services and collaborating with other public bodies and procuring efficient contracts.
  • We will always seek to find appropriate ways to work with Scottish Government and other public bodies in order to build economies of scale and adopt best practice.
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