Public and charities have faith in OSCR

Web 2016-02-11 alex neil and david robb at oscr

OSCR chief executive David Robb with cabinet secretary for social justice Alex Neil at the regulator's headquarters in Dundee earlier this year

After 10 years, Scotland's charity regulator has increased public confidence in the sector.

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25th April 2016 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

The Scottish public believes the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) plays an essential and important role in Scottish society.

Ten years after it was established to raise standards within Scottish charities, the regulator also enjoys high trust and support from the organisations it oversees.

A total of 85% of the public feel that OSCR's role is essential or important while 92% of charities trust OSCR to treat them fairly.

Before OSCR was set up, charity regulation in Scotland was limited - David Robb

The regulator also claims to have helped charities save around £40 million over the last decade through modernising and reorganising.

“Before OSCR was set up, charity regulation in Scotland was limited,” said David Robb. 

“In our ten years we’ve worked closely with charities to drive up standards, we’ve supported those running charities to be more transparent about their activities and to make the right decisions, and we’ve taken firm action where required. 

“We’ve also reviewed and refined our own structures and procedures to make sure that we are light-touch, proportionate and efficient and continue to reinforce public confidence in the years ahead”.

OSCR, based in Dundee, was established on a non-statutory basis in 2003 with four staff and began its work setting up the framework for charities before taking up its full regulatory powers on 24 April 2006. 

It followed a Scottish Government review of regulation of charities, which was carried out in response to a call from the sector.

Since 2006, OSCR has registered 9,102 new charities, removed over 8,000 ceased charities, granted consent to 8,450 changes to charities and handled 2,663 external concerns about charities.

Its review of all Scotland's private schools saw them retain their charitable status although some schools were forced to increase bursaries and public access to their grounds and facilities. 

OSCR’s chair, the Very Reverend Graham Forbes CBE, said: “We’ve undertaken a huge volume of work over the past ten years, setting up and maintaining the processes required to oversee the country’s 24,000 charities as well as carrying out detailed examinations and reviews into what it means to be a charity. 

“All of this requires enthusiasm, expertise and sound judgement and I congratulate OSCR’s staff for their performance over the past ten years," he said. "We also recognise the support of the sector we regulate and look forward to the future equipped with priorities based on our experience to date."