Two Scottish charities struck off for failing to fulfil charitable purposes

Scottish regulator moves against Berwickshire Access Panel and Shetland Independent Ambulance

Office of Scottish Charity Regulator
Office of Scottish Charity Regulator

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is to remove two charities from its register for failing to fulfil their charitable purposes.

It published a report this week saying that Berwickshire Access Panel, a disability charity in Berwickshire, has caused "public disbenefit" through misconduct in the charity’s administration.

A second report, also published this week, said the Shetland Independent Ambulance Service, which was set up to provide ambulance services and first aid training, failed the charity test because it was inactive.

The report on Berwickshire Access Panel said the charity had only one committee member, had submitted no accounts for the financial year ending in 2009 despite repeated requests, and had provided no evidence of charitable activities. The charity trustee told the regulator the charity was "stagnant" and had made no requests for funding or grants.

"If Berwickshire Access Panel continued to enjoy charitable status, with no intention of complying with the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005, it is likely that there would be significant reputational damage to the charitable sector and consequently to the wider public," the report says.

The report on Shetland Independent Ambulance Service says the regulator received a complaint about the charity in November 2009, suggesting that the charity could not be contacted and had no funds, and that its website contained inaccurate information about the number of ambulances and volunteers it had. The charity did not respond to the OSCR and, as of January 2011, had a bank balance of £30.85, the report said.

The charities have been sent notices that say they will be removed from the register in 21 days’ time, but  have the right to ask the OSCR to review this decision.

The regulator’s reports say the charities’ trustees have breached their duties under Scottish charity law, but that it has no plans to take further action against them. This is because they will no longer have charitable status and, in the case of Berwickshire Access Panel, the charity had no significant assets and, as far as the regulator is aware the former trustee, is not in control of any other charity.

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