Scotland drafts charity law based on public benefit

New measures to update and strengthen Scottish charity law were
unveiled by the Scottish Executive this week, writes
Maggie Wood

The draft Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill
proposes to create a new Scottish definition of charity based on
the principle of public benefit which is compatible with the
definition recently adopted by the UK government.

It will also give an enhanced range of powers to the newly
created Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) which will
have responsibility for granting charitable status to organisations
and will maintain a register of all charities operating in

OSCR will also be responsible for ensuring that there is better
regulation of fund-raising activity across Scotland. Concern has
been expressed in the past centring on investigations into
operators dishonestly collecting money on behalf of charitable

Communities minister Margaret Curran said that an estimated
£250 million is donated to Scottish charities each year and
that the public deserve the right to be sure that charities are
effective and trustworthy.

Leon Thompson from the Scottish Council for Voluntary
Organisations (SCVO) said, “We welcome the long awaited draft
charities bill which will modernise the legal framework which
underpins the contribution that Scottish charities make to the
public good in Scotland. The key aim is to maintain public
confidence in Scottish charities.”

The executive consultation runs until 25 August.

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