Data from OSCR has given an insight into Scotland’s charity sector
Public trust in Scottish charities is at its highest rate in more than a decade, a new report has revealed.
The Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) published its Scottish Charities 2021 report this week.
It details the scale of the Scottish voluntary sector, revealing that there are 25,199 charities on the register, including 1,179 cross-border charities.
The sector has a total gross income of £13.17bn and more than 208,977 staff – meaning it is of similar size to the NHS in Scotland.
Scottish charities are most likely to benefit children and young people (47% of organisations), people with disabilities (23%) and older people (22%).
The majority of charities in Scotland operate within a single local authority area (63%), but charities are not evenly distributed across the country. Scotland’s island communities and rural areas report a higher level of registered charities than local authorities in west central Scotland.
Around 51% of charities on the Scottish Charity Register have reported incomes of £0 to £25,000. Larger charities with incomes of £500,000 or more make up 9% of charities registered in Scotland. The basic profile of Scottish charities shows that around half of Scottish charities have income of less than £25,000, the more detailed breakdown shows that two fifths (39%) have income of less than £9,999. Many of these charities are run by volunteers and operating in our local communities.
The data shows there are 160,518 charity trustees of Scottish charities, and 170,163 charity trustees in the overall control and management of charities on the Scottish Charity Register. Taking into account charities that have not completed an annual return, the total number of charity trustees is estimated to be over 180,000.
Two thirds (66%) of charities on the Scottish Charity Register employ no paid staff and are run entirely by volunteers, including the charity trustees. For Scottish charities this percentage is slightly higher (68%). Cross border charities tend to be larger and only 19% report no paid staff in their most recent annual return.
And trust in the sector is on the up. Two thirds of the public feels that the charity sector is as trustworthy, or more trustworthy, than two years ago, up from only half in 2018. Around a third (29%) of the public felt that the charity sector in Scotland had become less trustworthy than two years ago when measured in 2020. The study reported public trust in Scottish charities is at the highest level since OSCR began to measure this in 2009.
OSCR chief executive, Maureen Mallon, said: “Charities are the cornerstone of a strong society and a flourishing economy. That’s why we’ve published Scottish Charities 2021 so that we can ensure that everyone in Scotland is aware of the scale, scope and contribution that charities make to our national fabric.
“We already know that public trust in Scottish charities is at the highest level since OSCR began to measure this in 2009. We hope by publishing a range of data and insights into the sector we can continue to build public confidence and ensure that policy makers and planners can make informed decisions in future.
“With our work at the Scottish Charity Regulator, people across Scotland can have faith that our twenty-five thousand charities are properly regulated and well-run. We want to continue to build public confidence in charities and allow these vital organisations to thrive and cement their place at the heart of our day to day life.”