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The voice of Scotland’s vibrant voluntary sector

Published by Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

TFN is published by the Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations, Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh, EH3 6BB. The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations (SCVO) is a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. Registration number SC003558.

Programme for Government: Fairer funding commitment welcome but sector needs urgent action


SCVO chief executive Anna Fowlie said Humza Yousaf didn't move “far or fast enough” on Tuesday. 

Scotland’s national membership organisation for the voluntary sector has welcomed government commitments which will have a crucial impact on the country’s third sector. 

As part of Tuesday’s Programme for Government, outlined by First Minister Humza Yousaf, committed to developing a plan for Fairer Funding of the Scottish Third Sector. 

This will include greater clarity and consistency of existing arrangements, recognising the sector’s strategic role. 

Further to this, the government outlined its plans to develop the scope for a wider review of charity regulation.

The publication on the Scottish Government’s website states: “As part of our commitment to support the third sector with Fairer Funding we will produce a plan to deliver improvements including greater clarity and consistency of existing arrangements, recognising the sector’s strategic role in enabling the transformation and delivery of person centred services for the people of Scotland. 

“Building on the recent passage of the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Act 2023, we will work with the third sector and partners to develop the scope for a wider review of charity regulation.”

Other moves which will effect how charities operate include the requirement for all care workers to be paid at least £12 per hour - with many in the care sector operating within charities or similar organisations. 

Anna Fowlie, Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations' (SCVO) chief executive, recognised the many priorities which were welcomed across Scotland’s Third Sector, but said more must be done. 

She said: “The First Minister has today set out a Programme for Government (PfG) which outlines priorities for Scotland which voluntary organisations working in and for communities have welcomed. While the PfG recognises the contribution voluntary organisations make across different portfolios, it doesn’t move far or fast enough to address fundamental changes to the operating environment that would recognise the vital role of Scotland’s voluntary sector in delivering on government priorities. 

“Today’s PfG restates the Scottish Government’s commitment to Fairer Funding for the voluntary sector, which we welcome. The Scottish Government's current poor grant-making practice makes the focus on improving the clarity and consistency of existing approaches very important, but we must continue to work together to support the sector to be financially sustainable.  To secure the future of the invaluable work our sector delivers, we must not only address disappointing practice, but also implement the longer-term improvements that are so desperately needed. 

“We can’t forget that an on-paper commitment to Fairer Funding was made by ministers earlier this year. It is disappointing that progress on this commitment has been so slow. Today’s announcement commits to developing a plan, when urgent action is needed. Our long-term work on Fair Funding provides clear recommendations, based on the sector’s experiences, and a clear blueprint for next steps. 

“The PfG’s firm commitment to taking forward a wider review of charity law is also welcome, particularly the commitment to work alongside the sector. It is important that the review is comprehensive and independent and doesn’t shy away from fundamental issues. We need a holistic approach to regulating the voluntary sector that supports the role of modern charities. 

“With charities experiencing growing frustration at the funding relationship with the Scottish Government and the impact this is having on organisations, staff, volunteers, and the services and support they offer, we had hoped for more action and urgency. The steps outlined will move us in the right direction, albeit slowly, and we will of course work with the Scottish Government to ensure that they do so in the ways that make the biggest difference to voluntary organisations across Scotland, supporting the invaluable contribution they make to Scotland’s economy and society.”



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