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Charities - Rising To The Challenge

Charities - Rising To The Challenge

Emma Jardine

Tuesday 25 and Wednesday 26 June saw delegates from across Scotland’s third sector gather together for the second annual Burness Paull third sector conference.

The central theme of the conference was chosen to reflect the fact that third sector organisations continue to face a variety of challenges and are increasingly having to become more creative and innovative in finding ways of providing their services. With this in mind, the agenda for the conference was carefully prepared so as to include some of the most pressing issues affecting the third sector in Scotland today.

The conference started with a presentation entitled “Is your legal structure holding you back?” in which Stephen Phillips (head of Burness Paull’s public and third sector team) reviewed the SCIO model, two years after its inception. Stephen compared the model to other more widely used legal models within the sector and also highlighted some of the facts and fiction associated with SCIOs. We were also joined by representatives from the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) who were able to give the regulator’s perspective on the model.

Our next topic – “Governance Gremlins” – was presented by Gillian Harkness, together with Rory Dutton of the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS). We have recently seen an increase in governance related enquiries and Gillian focussed on the types of issues that can arise, some of the key causes of these issues and how third sector organisations can deal with these problems, emphasising the importance of prevention being better than cure. This topic seemed to strike a chord with a number of delegates as they too are facing issues of governance.

Inez Manson and Graeme Palmer then took delegates on a tour of EU procurement and state aid law, highlighting what third sector organisations need to know. It was the discussion around state aid that seemed to provoke the most discussion amongst delegates, with many commenting on the difficulties that third sector organisations often face in ensuring compliance with state aid provisions.

The final presentation of the day was from our employment law colleagues Geoff Clark and Morag Hutchison who focussed on TUPE and what third sector organisations need to be aware of in managing the challenges of winning/losing a local authority contract. Again, this topic was well received by delegates, many of whom are dealing with exactly these types of issues.

If you couldn’t make it along to the conference but are interested in finding out about the topics that were discussed then you can access a copy of the slides here. If you would like further information on any of the topics discussed then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

Emma Jardine
Solicitor

LChalmers