OSCR names and shames accounts laggards

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has placed on its website a list of charities that have failed to provide their annual returns and accounts on time. The regulator hopes that naming and shaming defaulting charities will encourage them to comply when other warning measures have failed.

Under Scottish law, charities are required to submit accounts and annual returns within 10 months of their financial years ending. Charities failing to do so first receive ‘overdue’ reminders and are then sent ‘passed to compliance’ warnings. If charities still haven’t complied six months after the deadline, they will appear on the default list.

Almost 300 charity names were published on the OSCR’s website yesterday, and the list will be updated monthly. Kirsty Gray, head of monitoring and investigation at the regulator, said that 97 per cent of registered charities did provide the information on time and that it was a matter of public confidence that the remaining 3 per cent did so too.

“All charities depend upon public confidence and are therefore accountable to the public on how charitable funds are used,” she said.

She added that it was likely some of the charities on the list were not receiving reminders to file their accounts because they had not updated their main contact details on the register. “Should any charities find themselves in this position it is vital that they notify us as soon as possible,” she said.

If a charity still fails to submit accounts 12 months after the deadline, it risks being taken off the register and the OSCR has the power to appoint an accountant to the organisation, which the charity’s trustees would have to pay for.

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