Scottish public happy with charity performance

Three-quarters of the Scottish public think charities are 'very good' or 'good' at the work they do, according to a survey by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator.

The survey, carried out in April, also found that 46 per trusted the majority of charities, while only 5 per cent trusted none.

The 350 respondents were most concerned about financial matters, with 85 per cent citing charity running costs as a source of concern, 82 per cent citing keeping accurate accounts and 81 per cent citing financial irregularities. However, the percentages have dropped a little since last year's survey.

Respondents thought the most important things charities could do to improve public confidence were to be more open in explaining how they achieve their stated objectives and to circulate their accounts more widely.

Only 42 per cent had heard of the OSCR, up from 32 per cent last year. This compares to the 54 per cent of people in England and Wales who have heard of the Charity Commission, according to the commission's recent Public Trust and Confidence in Charities report (Third Sector, 21 May).

Jane Ryder, chief executive of the OSCR, said: "It is reassuring to see that the public is generally very supportive of charities and we will consider how we can inform the public about the work of the regulator."

The OSCR also surveyed charities about their perceptions of the regulator. Results were generally favourable, with 79 per cent saying the OSCR struck the right balance between regulation and advice. Where comparisons were available with the 2007 survey, all scores had improved.

Nearly 50 per cent of the 320 respondents said funding was their main concern - up from 39 per cent last year. Volunteer recruitment (19 per cent) was also a cause for concern.

Ryder said: "As a proportionate regulator we are pleased to see that our activities, communication and guidance continue to find favour with the sector."

More statistics



  • 40 per cent of the public have "a lot" of interest in charities. Seven per cent had no interest


  • 42 per cent of the public are directly involved in charities


  • 23 per cent of the public give more than £250 a year to charity. Four per cent do not give anything


  • 46 per cent of charities have their own website


  • 64 per cent of charities think OSCR is sufficiently independent. Other key OSCR values are proportionality (46 per cent); accountability (58 per cent); transparency (58 per cent); consistent (54 per cent); and fair (54 per cent)

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