Scottish regulator publishes rewritten guidance on charity test

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator says the basic principles remain the same, but the guidance is now easier to use and understand

Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator

The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has published rewritten guidance on its charity test to make it easier to understand and use.

The OSCR said that although the basic principles of the guidance had not changed, the document, Meeting the Charity Test, which was published yesterday, had been extensively rewritten and reformatted for ease of use.

Earlier this year the OSCR ran a consultation on draft changes to the guidance, which was last updated in November 2008.

The regulator said the responses to the draft were mostly positive, but as a result of feedback it had made changes such as including examples of governing documents and making the definition of sport clearer.

"The aim of the revised guidance is to make it as easy as possible for advisers, applicants and charity trustees to understand the charity test," says a document that summarises responses to the consultation, which was also published yesterday. "While the charity test itself has not changed, our experience has allowed us to develop new and clearer ways of illustrating the charity test."

The OSCR said this was the first piece of guidance that had been designed in the first instance for use on the internet, which was part of a shift by the regulator to producing and sharing its guidance.

"The guidance has been informed by the regulator’s experience in assessing and granting status to more than 5,000 charities since the last update, along with widespread consultation of charities and third sector advisers," it said.

Martin Tyson, head of registration at the OSCR, said: "Our updated guidance features a range of case studies based on the type of scenarios we’ve encountered to help applicants and existing charities understand what’s required of them, how we look at the charity test and the issues that can arise. It should also help organisations decide whether becoming a charity is the right thing for them in the first place."

The OSCR said it would also publish summary guidance at a later date.

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