The Bill for this Act of the Scottish Parliament – which makes changes to the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 – was passed by the Parliament on 28th June 2023 and received Royal Assent on 9th August 2023. The key provisions of the 2023 Act are not yet in force and the 2005 Act remains unchanged, for now. No action is needed at the moment, but OSCR will provide guidance and advice for charities over the coming months.
Some key amendments are:
OSCR will be required to publish the names only of trustees on the public Scottish Charity Register, and they will also maintain an internal database of trustee contact details. In special circumstances, for example when there is a risk to personal safety, trustees will be able to request that this information is not published.
Publishing more information
OSCR will publish additional information on the Scottish Charity Register. This will include:
- annual accounts for all charities, which will not be redacted; and
- a list of trustees whom the courts have removed and barred from acting as trustees in the future.
- a record of charities who have merged. This will assist with the transfer of legacies.
Increasing OSCR’s inquiry powers
OSCR’s inquiry powers will be extended to allow investigation of organisations which are no longer charities, and former charity trustees.
Disqualification of trustees and senior managers
- The range of offences and situations that result in automatic disqualification of charity trustees will be extended to include offences such as being convicted under bribery or proceeds of crime legislation, association with terrorist groups or sexual offences.
- The criteria for disqualification will also be extended to apply to those who are in senior management positions within a charity.
- OSCR will also be able to appoint interim trustees in specific circumstances.
If charities fail to submit their accounts and do not engage with communications from OSCR, they will have the power to remove them from the Scottish Charity Register.
Connection to Scotland
OSCR may refuse charitable status to applicants who have no (or very little) connection to Scotland. Existing charities must maintain a connection to Scotland, and could be removed from the Register if they do not.