We use cookies to make your experience of our website better. Some of these are set by third party Google Analytics to help us analyse website traffic. To comply with privacy regulations, we require your consent to set these cookies. If you continue to use the site without selecting an option we will assume you are happy for us to use cookies.

And The Survey Says...

And The Survey Says...

The Scottish public’s trust in charities remains as high now as it was two years ago according to the latest research commissioned by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

The figures have been welcomed as positive news for the third sector against a backdrop of high-profile governance failures at a number of major charities in recent months.

The report, published last month, focussed on four main areas: engagement with charities; motivations and trust in charities; concerns about charities; and awareness and understanding of OSCR. Among the key results, the report shows that public interest in charities was stable, and local charities were granted higher levels of trust than national and international charities.

Scottish charities, as with others across the UK, have found themselves having to look closely at their own internal systems of governance to ensure transparency and compliance in the wake of the various scandals to hit the press recently. This is a trend that we are certainly seeing reflected in our practice, as the number of charities coming to us for assistance with governance reviews has increased significantly in the last six months.

A governance review can range from a full analysis of all systems, processes and documents relating to the ways in which an organisation is run, to a far smaller-scale evaluation of a particular provision or set of provisions contained within an organisation’s governing document.

While a governance review can be a very worthwhile exercise, and is certainly something that trustees should be carrying out regularly as best practice, simply conducting a paper-based review is not, in and of itself, sufficient.

Charity trustees should, as a matter of course, regularly be reviewing the core of what the charity does and evaluating its activities in terms of its charitable purposes. This type of reflection, coupled with regular consideration of key governance documents, will help to ensure that charities in Scotland are well run and that they continue to have the trust of their stakeholders and the public.

We are always very happy to assist third sector organisations on issues around governance so please do get in touch for a further discussion.

The full OSCR report can be read here.

By Emma Maxwell
Senior Solicitor, Public & Third Sector

Burness admin