Scots still trust charities says OSCR


New research from Scotland's charity regulator suggests negative media stories have not affected public trust

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25th May 2018 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Scottish people have not lost trust in charities over the last two years despite negative media stories.

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) commissioned research found that trust in charities is as high as two years ago, with a mean trust score of 6.14 out of 10 in 2018 compared to 6.08 in 2016.

The research, carried out by independent research organisations Progressive, found that Scottish people trust local charities more than Scotland-wide, UK and international charities.

The views of 1,000 members of the public and 1,200 charity representatives as well as findings from public focus groups and in-depth telephone interviews with charities contributed to the report.

OSCR’s chief executive, David Robb, said: “It is heartening to see that trust in charities has held up despite media reports of concerns raised around protecting vulnerable beneficiaries or the use of finances. This is a testament to the positive impact of the charitable work done by Scottish charities, and the dedication of their trustees, staff and volunteers.”

“However, charities should not take public trust and confidence for granted. Our register is a fantastic resource but the public want further transparency from charities. I would urge them to share their stories in an open and honest way, even when things go wrong. By letting the public see the work they do, trust can only improve.”

The findings build on Ipsos Mori research carried out on behalf of the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) at the end of 2017. Although it suggested a dip in trust levels from 2015, it found 73% of Scots agreed or strongly agreed that most charities are trustworthy and act in the public interest.

In response to the findings, SCVO launched its I Love Charity campaign, which aims to inspire trust in charities by supporting good governance within organisations to ensure they are well run, open and transparent, and to encourage charities to work harder at promoting the positive impact of their work.

John Downie, SCVO’s director of public affairs, said: “OSCR’s research is good news for Scotland’s charities. The UK charity sector has been under the media spotlight this year following revelations of sexual misconduct, predominantly within international aid organisations.

“At SCVO, however, we know the vast majority of Scottish charities are well run and can hold their heads up high. This research suggests the majority of the Scottish public also believe this. However, public trust is fragile and can’t be taken for granted. That’s why our I Love Charity campaign is focused on supporting charities to be the best they can be and helping them to highlight their many successes.”

OSCR’s research also found public knowledge of the charity regulator has increased significantly. Members of the public who were aware of OSCR have greater levels of trust and 85% say that OSCR’s role is important.

There was also strong support for charities using the OSCR registration logo on their materials. Results showed that a significantly higher proportion of people would donate to a charity with the logo included when compared to all other options.