One year on: my reflections and what’s next for OSCR in 2020

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Maureen Mallon on her first year at OSCR

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23rd January 2020 by TFN Guest 0 Comments

It has been one year since I joined OSCR as the chief executive.

I’ve spent a lot of time reflecting on the charity sector in all its various forms and overall I’m humbled by the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of almost everyone involved.

The passion that trustees, volunteers, staff and beneficiaries have for their organisations and communities is what drives our team at OSCR to undertake our duties as an empowering regulator, working to actively support charities to be the best they can be.

We are working hard to make it as simple as possible for the public, charities and other bodies to engage with us. The continuous improvement journey, for charities and ourselves, is a big priority this year.

Maureen Mallon

Maureen Mallon

I’m humbled by the energy, commitment and enthusiasm of almost everyone

We will be working closely with a range of partners to work out how we can best support and challenge charities to be the best they can be. Ultimately, this should lead to tangible benefits for their beneficiaries.

Reporting is a key way for charities to be transparent and tell the public about the great work they do. One area of work in 2020 includes having a closer look at the information we ask charities to provide to us annually.

Feedback from the public and the sector, combined with our knowledge as regulator, will allow us to make changes that provide a high level of value for both the charity undertaking the exercise and those who want to read the information.

We hope that any reporting changes will help highlight when a charity is well run and makes a significant impact. This information is used widely by funders and the public when considering charities so it’s really worth all of us making it the best it can be.

We’ve improved our website over the past year to try to make it as easy as possible to find the information you need. These improvements are leading to real efficiencies for us, with fewer calls and discussions about things that can be easily resolved or taken up elsewhere, leaving us more time to deal with the increasingly complex queries that come to us.  

Coming soon, we will be launching a new section of the website that uses data from the Scottish Charity Register to provide a useful overview of the sector. We are also planning to develop campaigns to increase public awareness of our work and what charities do.

As the sector has grows in complexity, our working practices must adapt to meet those changes. We have spent a great deal of the past year revising our approaches to assessing cases and queries as they come in the door - and this is helping us to streamline our processes and bring down our response times where we can.

A big push in the coming year is an internal digital transformation that should help to automate some aspects of work, giving colleagues more time to work on more proactive projects.

Like many others, we are disappointed not to have seen changes to charity legislation happen yet in response to the consultation.

That said, we are delighted to be working with Scottish Government and other colleagues on SCIOs and we are really looking forward to conversations throughout this year to think about wider issues of policy and practice as well as legislation.

So here’s to a productive, proactive and exciting year ahead for the charity sector. See you at the Gathering!

Maureen Mallon is chief executive of OSCR.