Boost in quality of accounts from small Scottish charities

Significant improvements but 'high level of non-compliance' persists, says regulator

There has been a significant improvement in the quality of accounts submitted by small Scottish charities in the past year, according to the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

An OSCR study of 300 charities with an annual income of less than £25,000 showed that two thirds included a trustees' annual report with their 2008 accounts, compared with only a third in 2007. "Nevertheless, at 33 per cent, this still remains a high level of non-compliance," the report says.

The number of charities that did not have their accounts externally scrutinised, as required by Scottish charity law, fell from 32 per cent in 2007 to 11 per cent in 2008. However, only 31 per cent of external scrutiny reports were fully compliant. Many charities also used outdated accounting formats.

Only 22 per cent of charities failed to include a statement of balances, compared with 48 per cent in 2007.

Jane Ryder, chief executive of the OSCR, said the "significant progress" made could be seen as evidence of the positive impact of the organisation's monitoring regime.

"Charities with a gross annual income under £25,000 represent more than two thirds of the sector in Scotland and we will continue to take a proportionate approach that recognises the needs of smaller charities and offers support and guidance to encourage compliance," she said.

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