Tighten doorstep fundraising rules, says Scots watchdog

Doorstep collectors should be legally required to say whether the organisations they are working for are charities, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The recommendation, intended to guard against bogus collectors, is contained in the OSCR's annual report and accounts for 2007/08. The regulator is required to submit an annual report to the Scottish Parliament under the terms of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, which established the OSCR two years ago.

The report says: "It is a matter of public confidence that it should be clear and transparent whether or not an organisation is a charity."

The report also recommended that Scottish charities should be required to state on their websites whether they are registered with the OSCR.

The regulator has asked for powers to appoint additional trustees to the boards of older charities that are unable to operate because they do not have a sufficient number of trustees and lack a mechanism in their constitutions to appoint new ones.

Jane Ryder, chief executive of the OSCR, said: "The recommendations are an important outcome and we hope that these can be considered in the context of the legislative programme just announced."

The accounts reveal that Ryder earned between £70,000 and £75,000 last year. Total staff costs were slightly more than £1.5m out of a total budget of just over £3m.

The report also reveals that the regulator received more than 150 complaints about Scottish charities in 2007/08. Of those, 30 per cent were deemed to require ‘compliance support', and 5 per cent to merit formal investigation or regulatory action.

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