Fiona Haro provides advice on recent changes Scotland's charity regulator has made to charity reporting
Targeted charity regulation is now a reality, and it is therefore useful to discuss the changes the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator is making to some of its procedures and the new requirements all charities have to meet.
Targeted regulation will mean changes to charity reporting which are important for charity trustees to understand. The good news is, though, that these changes won’t lead to charities having to take major steps to make sure they're meeting these new requirements.
One thing to be aware of in the new regime is a charity's responsibility to report a notifiable eventFiona Haro
Charity submissions and the information OSCR displays on its website changed at noon on 29 March this year. There is now a revised annual return form, which has some different questions than before. However, most charities will find they're answering fewer questions than before.
OSCR will now also display many Scottish charities accounts on the register, which is publicly available to view on its website. All Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations and any organisations with an income over £25,000 will see their accounts published on the register as soon as they are received.
One thing to be aware of in the new regime is a charity's responsibility to report a notifiable event.
Charities are now required to inform OSCR if a notifiable event has taken place, which is when something serious has happened or is happening to the charity which threatens to have a significant impact on the charity or its assets.
The OSCR website has a useful table giving examples of what types of events are deemed notifiable. These can range from financial issues such as fraud or theft, to internal issues which affect the running of the charity.
OSCR has introduced these changes following widespread consultation. The aim is to make sure that reporting procedures and the overall approach are as effective as possible and that OSCR is focusing resources and attention on the right areas.
It’s clear that the public welcomes transparency. Remember, a charity's accounts and Trustees’ Annual Report give it a great opportunity to spell out its activities and impact.
Charities shouldn’t find the new approach presents any significant issues, and indeed most charities will find completing the Annual Return forms less onerous than in the past.
Fiona Haro is happy to provide further information or clarification on any of the changes.
Fiona Haro is a partner at accountancy firm Thomson Cooper.