An update from OSCR


Maureen Mallon gives a summer update from the regulator

2nd August 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

We are having a busy summer…do you remember when it used to be a bit quieter? One of OSCR’s main pieces of work at the moment is the thinking and development around our next ambitious corporate strategy. A key theme throughout the development is a focus on us being a targeted and enabling regulator.

So what does it mean for OSCR to be enabling? When I was an education inspector we were often asked how we could undertake a dual function, being both the body focused on public accountability and holding colleagues to account while also working to support those working across education to improve their work and outcomes. Both go hand in hand, and it’s much the same here at OSCR.

The lion’s share of our work is about supporting charities to be the best that they can be. We do that in many ways: 

  • The work we do to register charities and respond to charity trustees looking to make changes. This involves engaging with the people who get in touch with us about their charities, and we’re open in explaining what’s necessary to be able to move on with what they want to do.
  • Working with charities where we have identified risks or concerns.  We use the powers the law gives us where that’s appropriate, but in most cases what we do is to work with trustees to identify the right way forward or to support them in actions they are taking to turn things around.
  • Through our guidance, which we are constantly striving to update and improve. We are currently testing a tailored trustee information pack that tells trustees what OSCR guidance is appropriate for their charity as well as giving them general information about their role. Please have a look          and let us know what you think and how to improve it.
  • Our registration logos now come in every shape and size to suit every type of publication from reports to posters. Using them lets everyone know that your charity is regulated and we know that improves confidence and trust and hopefully leads to increased support.
Maureen Mallon

Maureen Mallon

Everyone who contacts us, with a query, concern or a specific action they require to work with us on is treated the same way - with respect. We work without fear or favour, and we regulate on the same principles, no matter how well-connected a charity’s trustees are or how influential it is. We are a non-ministerial office and that enables us to work with the independence we require and report directly to Scottish Parliament (where we have just laid our Annual Report and Accounts… Hurray!).

Like everyone else, we are constantly striving to improve, looking at the work of other regulators across Scotland, the UK and beyond for useful ideas that we can adapt and use. We have a really significant area of work just now looking at how we assess risks and we will share any approaches and ideas that we can to help charities to improve their approaches to risk too.

We hope to see quite a lot of you at our upcoming Meet the Charity Regulator events in Dunfermline, Glasgow and Fort William. Until then, enjoy the rest of the summer.

Maureen Mallon is interim chief executive at the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator