Charities in Scotland are regulated by an independent body. This body is called the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). The OSCR is the regulator and registrar for over 25,000 Scottish charities including community groups, religious charities, schools, universities, grant-giving charities and major care providers.
The OSCR was established under the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 (the 2005 Act). The 2005 Act sets out the powers that OSCR has to regulate charities. This includes publishing and maintaining the Scottish Charity Register.
There is currently a Bill making its way through the Scottish Parliament that will update the 2005 Act.
The bill is intended to:
- give OSCR wider powers to investigate charities and charity trustees;
- amend the rules on who can be a charity trustee or a senior office-holder in a charity;
- increase the information that OSCR holds about charity trustees;
- update the information which needs to be included on the Scottish Charity Register; and
- create a record of charities that have merged.
These changes will keep Scottish legislation in line with changes that have been made in England, Wales, and Northern Ireland to improve charity legislation since the Act came into effect in 2005.