New Regulatory Body for all Scottish Charities

OSCR logoThere is change in the management of charities in Scotland. The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 created the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), a new body which now registers charities in Scotland and which wilt oversee and control their function. Until now NEMT had to demonstrate a charitable aim to the Inland Revenue and were then largely left alone. Provided a charity was well behaved, it was unlikely to receive much further attention.

OSCR now requires all charities to register, within broadly similar charitable purposes as before, and to demonstrate that they act within that purpose, as well as providing public benefit. NEMT appears to satisfy criteria (m) "advancement of environmental protection or improvement". We are now required to submit annual returns to OSCR in a specified timeframe. There has also been a change in the Statement of Recommended Practice (2005) which determines the content of a charitys Annual Report and Accounts. We can expect to be subject to a more detailed examination by 05CR in the future. The legislation describes roles for those running a charity (the Charity Trustees), and determines suitable investment and employment policies. It also determines what happens when things go amiss. With a little care we should be able to steer clear of those parts of the Act. Your elected General Council will continue to run NEMT to the best of our understanding of the legal framework. This will involve some additional work for an entirely voluntary group. The only comfort is that all other charities are subject to the same regulation. Any member with specific skills or information is welcome to assist us (offers to the General Secretary).

Donald Thomas

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