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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.

Revealed: the scale and scope of Scotland's charity sector


Report shows that more than 2,500 organisations have failed to submit annual returns on time

Scotland’s charity regulator has published a report detailing the current size and shape of the sector.

It provides a snapshot of the state of the country’s charities over the past three months.

OSCR’s Sector Overview Report is based on the information provided by charities on the Scottish Charity Register.

The report, which covers the period from January to March 2024, shows that 743 charities were registered in 2023, while 1,130 charities were removed from the register.

This is significantly higher than 2022’s figure of 678, thanks to the regulator’s ongoing work to eliminate inactive organisations.

In the last quarter, 210charities have been registered and 261 have been removed.

According to the report, there are 25,045 charities registered with OSCR – 23,766 Scottish charities and 1,279 cross-border charities that are also registered in England and Wales.

Of these charities, more than 2,500 had failed to submit annual returns on time, which the OSCR said could be because the organisation was no longer active. 

The report shows that 53%of charities have an income of less than £25,000 and around a third of Scottish charities (31%) have an income below £5,000.

Meanwhile, there are 181,258 charity trustees across all Scottish charities and charities employ 218,323 people as paid staff. However, 69% of charities employ no paid staff and are run entirely by volunteers, including the trustees.

Just under half (45%) of charities are set up to benefit children or young people and the majority of charities in Scotland are focused on a local area, with 41% operating in a specific local point, community or neighbourhood and a further 25% operating within one local authority area.

The updated interactive report can be found on OSCR’s Sector Overview Report page, along with PDF versions of previous reports.



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