Shake up planned for charity law in Scotland

Law

Big changes to Scots charity law proposed 

8th January 2019 by Robert Armour 0 Comments

Money launderers, sex offenders and those with links to terrorism will be automatically banned from becoming charity trustees in Scotland under new proposals. 

And organisations that repeatedly fail to publish annual accounts would face serious repercussions including being struck off.

Meanwhile, charities without a clear connection to Scotland could be removed from the Scottish charity register.

The plans comes as part of a three-month consultation launched this week by the the Scottish Government and represent the biggest shake up to Scots charity law since 2006 when the legislation came into force.

Proposals would bring Scots charity law into line with England and Wales.

Other options put forward include establishing an external register of charity trustees.

A survey by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) last year showed almost nine out of 10 people (88%) would trust charities more if they could see evidence of their achievements and how much cash from donations went to good causes.

The consultation states: “In the wake of recent safeguarding concerns both at home and abroad, as well as a range of governance concerns and examples of charitable status being abused, it is more important than ever that charities and trustees operate transparently and are accountable for their actions.”

Communities secretary Aileen Campbell said: “Charities play a vital role in our society, from supporting individuals and communities, to informing policy at a national level, they are key to us achieving our ambition of creating a fairer and more prosperous country.

“It is therefore important that we do all we can to maintain and increase public trust and confidence in the charity sector and making sure legislation supports that. I would encourage anyone with an interest in the charity sector to share their views by responding to this consultation.”

Anna Fowlie, chief executive of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO), said: “While SCVO welcomes the opportunity to review charity law and encourages third sector organisations to have their say in the Scottish Government’s consultation, we think there are some major missed opportunities here to better define what modern charities are.

"There is already a high level of trust in charities in Scotland. It’s important that we ensure charities remain accountable through up to date regulation which considers new developments in technology, society and constitutional change.”

The consultation, which seeks views from anyone interested in charites and charity law, runs until 1 April.