Scottish Government backs OSCR proposal on charitable purposes

Relief for charities with constitutions written before 2005 as consultation begins

Scottish charities with constitutions written before 2005 will no longer have to amend them if the Scottish Government's proposals for legislative changes are adopted. The proposal has been put out for consultation.

Before 2005, the constitutions of all Scottish charities defined their charitable purposes solely with reference to tax law. These organisations faced losing their charitable status if they did not update their constitutions because the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 defines charitable purpose more narrowly.

Five of the 30 charities reviewed under the first phase of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator's Rolling Review were in this position.

But the Scottish Government has endorsed the OSCR's proposal, contained in its annual report last year, to amend the act so that all references to ‘charitable purposes' in charity constitutions written before 2005 will be interpreted as including the charitable purposes the act sets out.

Among other proposed changes, which are intended to iron out minor unforeseen problems with the act, are new powers for the OSCR to appoint additional trustees, reorganise restricted funds and approve changes in constitutions to improve governance arrangements. But the Scottish Government admits that it is unclear when there will be parliamentary time for the required primary legislation.

The consultation runs until 24 July.

Paul Jump recommends

The consultation

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