SCVO media release
30 June 2016

An enhanced model for charity fundraising regulation in Scotland will see more responsibility placed on charities and the Scottish charity regulator, OSCR, to encourage good practice. The move follows an extensive period of consultation with the third sector and the public, led by the Scottish Fundraising Working Group which was convened by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO).

The Working Group’s vision was to create a fundraising regulatory system for Scotland which commands confidence in charity fundraising, inspires public trust and promotes good fundraising.

A new independent panel comprising members of the public, donors, charities, fundraisers, OSCR and the Scottish Government, will be convened to develop a robust set of standards for all charities, setting a high bar for fundraising in Scotland.

In addition, a new Freephone fundraising complaints line and website will be set up to provide guidance to members of the public on how to raise complaints.

The Working Group presented three potential options for the future of charity fundraising in Scotland in its consultation:

  1. Adopting the UK-wide Fundraising Regulator as an intermediary between the public and charities.
  2. Setting up a new Scottish Fundraising Regulator as an intermediary.
  3. No intermediary: charities in Scotland and OSCR take on an enhanced role in regulating fundraising.

The consultation identified resounding support for option three.

The Working Group has therefore recommended it to the Scottish Government as the model that should be followed, with the further recommendation that the regulation of cross-border charities uses a lead regulator model. This recognises that charities operating in Scotland but registered in England, Wales and Northern Ireland are answerable to the Fundraising Regulator, which replaces the Fundraising Standards Board on 7 July 2016.

Chair of the Working Group, ENABLE Scotland chief executive, Theresa Shearer, said:

“Enhanced self-regulation has been identified as the best way to oversee fundraising in Scotland and support our vibrant sector to continue to thrive in a climate of public trust and transparency. We have learned through our consultation that charities and the public needed a much simpler approach, and now we have it. Charities will take the lead in designing a new, more rigorous, system of self-regulation that everyone can trust and understand. With OSCR having an enhanced role, there will be no room for doubt.”

OSCR’s Chief Executive, David Robb, said: “We are pleased to have contributed to the new approach being announced today and look forward to our developing role set out in the report. Our experience is that charities generally are well run, but this new framework will support the public’s continuing confidence in charities and their work.”

Cabinet Secretary for Communities, Social Security and Equalities Angela Constance said:

“The Scottish Government welcomes this report. The extensive consultation that has been carried out indicates the clear support to continue with self-regulation of charity fundraising.

“What is needed is a more robust approach which is easier for everyone to understand and encourages charities to adhere to good fundraising practice, which is why we welcome the proposal to introduce a new online and phone complaints approach so that everyone in Scotland knows who to contact and be informed of what to do if they have a complaint about charity. We will consider and respond to the rest of the recommendations in due course.”


Notes to editors:

  1. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland’s charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. The Scottish third sector turns over £4.5 billion a year and employs 138,000 people in over 45,000 organisations.
  1. The Scottish Charity Regulator is the independent registrar and regulator of Scotland’s 23,800 charities and publishes the Scottish Charity Register at The Regulator’s vision is for charities you can trust and that provide public benefit.
  1. The Etherington Review of UK fundraising regulation conducted by the National Council for Voluntary Organisations, and SCVO’s review of fundraising regulation in Scotland, reported in the autumn of 2015. Both found that a new system of fundraising self-regulation was needed to address concerns about public trust in charity fundraising. In Scotland, the Scottish Fundraising Working Group was convened by SCVO to perform this task, with membership from Scottish and UK-wide charities, and the charity and fundraising professional bodies. Scottish Government and the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) representatives provided input as observers, whilst a sub-group provided additional technical expertise.
  1. The Scottish Fundraising Working Group consultation took account of the 750 views gathered in SCVO’s initial report. It also heard from a summit held in Edinburgh and attended by around 150 professionals from across the third sector. Further consultation took place at 17 round table events held in communities across Scotland, and via a series of public focus groups facilitated by Ipsos MORI. Read the report
  1. For media queries, please call Charlotte McNeill at SCVO on 07790 601 995.