Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

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The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Government with responsibility for the regulation of charities in Scotland.

The OSCR are the independent regulator and registrar for more than 23,000 Scottish charities.[1]The OSCR is charged with developing a regulatory framework for Scottish charities, where each charity is clear about is rights and responsibilities. This framework should also foster public confidence in charities.

It was formerly an executive agency but following the passing of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005[2] it was made independent of ministerial control, and answers directly to the Scottish Parliament. The OSCR is based in Dundee. It is the equivalent of the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.


The OSCR perform a range of functions which includes:[3]

  • Determining whether bodies are charities.
  • Keeping a public Register of charities.
  • Facilitating compliance by charities with the legislation.
  • Investigating any apparent misconduct in the administration of charities.
  • Giving information or advice to Scottish Ministers.

In August 2014 OSCR began a consultation on various aspects of its role, and is considering providing details of the names of trustees, and, at some stage, might make copies of charity accounts available online.[4]


Under section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990,[5] the Lord Advocate was given the power to make enquiries either for general or specific purposes and to obtain various types of information from charities. Following the Scotland Act and the establishment of both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government this power was exercised by the Scottish Ministers.

Initially charity regulation was carried out by the Scottish Charities Office, a department in the Crown Office, but this function was transferred to the OSCR in December 2003.[6]

The OSCR, as a non-ministerial department, is directly answerable to the Scottish Parliament and not to Ministers or the Scottish Government.


  1. ^ "About OSCR". Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  2. ^ "Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act". Archived from the original on 30 September 2012. 
  3. ^ "About OSCR: Our work". Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. Retrieved 25 September 2014. 
  4. ^ "Regulator consults on new approach". Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator. 5 August 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2014. 
  5. ^ "section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990". National Archives. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 
  6. ^ "Protocol for liaison between the Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator and the Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service". Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator. August 2004. Retrieved 24 September 2014. 

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