New legislation aims to ‘strengthen and modernise’ charity laws

Shona Robison said law reforms will keep trust in the sector high ahead of the Social Justice and Social Security Committee session.

New Scottish legislation aims to ‘strengthen and modernise’ charity laws, says social justice minister STV News

Scottish Government reforms to charity laws will help keep trust in the sector high, social justice secretary Shona Robison has said.

Ministers are seeking to “strengthen, modernise and improve charity regulation” by updating the existing laws, which date back to 2005, she said.

Robison will set out more details of the planned changes when she appears before MSPs on the Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee on Thursday.

It comes after ministers brought forward the Charities (Regulation and Administration) Bill, which aims to increase transparency and accountability across the sector, as well as improve the powers of the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

Speaking ahead of the committee session, Robison said: “The charity sector plays a major role for our country and society.

“They are widely supported by the public and trust in them and what they deliver is high, and we want to keep it that way.

“Current charity law is now over 17 years old and the charity sector has changed significantly in that time.

“That is why we are aiming to strengthen, modernise and improve charity regulation through updating the 2005 legislation.

“I am pleased that charities have voiced their support for this Bill and its principles which will increase transparency of charities and extend OSCR’s enforcement powers.

“Scotland’s charities raise more than £13bn of income each year so it’s important that how they are regulated remains fit for purpose.”

The new legislation updates the criteria for the automatic disqualification of charity trustees, and also extends this to those in some specific senior management positions in charities.

The Bill would also require all charities on the Scottish Charity Register to have and retain a connection to Scotland, and would require OSCR to publish statements of account for all charities listed on the register.

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