Scottish trust in charities down, but not as much as in England

Surveys by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator say trustworthiness is down from 6.4 out of 10 in 2014 to 6.1 now

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

Trust in charities in Scotland has fallen slightly in the past two years, but remained higher than that in England and Wales, the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator has found.

The OSCR commissioned two surveys: one asked 1,200 members of the general public what they thought of charities; the other surveyed 1,215 charity stakeholders across Scotland and interviewed 15 charity primary contacts to find out how the charity sector viewed the regulator.

The reports on the two surveys, both released this week, say that when members of the public were asked to rate the trustworthiness of charities out of 10, the average score was 6.1, down from 6.4 in 2014.

This means the Scottish public has more trust in charities than their counterparts in England and Wales, which returned an average score of 5.7 out of 10 in a Charity Commission survey published yesterday, down from 6.7 in 2014.

The OSCR surveys found that despite the drop in trust in Scotland, 54 per cent gave a rating of six out of 10 or higher, and 54 per cent said their trust had not changed over the past two years; 35 per cent felt it had decreased and 8 per cent felt it had increased.

Those who said their trust had decreased said the fall had been driven by negative media stories (54 per cent), management pay (35 per cent), concerns that money was not going to the cause (32 per cent) and concerns that charities were harassing people for money (12 per cent).

David Robb, chief executive of the OSCR, said: "It’s reassuring to see that public trust in charities remains high, but clearly there are steps we can all take to reinforce this further.

"For the regulator, it’s about ensuring greater transparency, support and scrutiny, which we’re delivering through our new targeted regulation programme.

"For charities, it’s about publicising the work they do and the impact they have, whether that’s on their websites, in their annual reports and accounts, or in the local press."

The Charity Commission for Northern Ireland announced today it would be publishing the results of its own public trust and confidence survey on 6 September.

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