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Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 [S]

An Act of the Scottish Parliament that will provide a new definition of a 'charity' based on the principle of public benefit and enhanced powers for Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) and ensure firmer regulation of fundraising activities.



The policy objective of the Act is to ensure there is a robust, proportionate and transparent regulatory framework that satisfies public interest in the effective regulation of charities in Scotland and meets the needs of the Scottish charity sector.

Main provisions in the Bill (as introduced)

The bill is divided into four parts.

Part 1: Charities

Section 1 establishes the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).

Section 1 to 5 sets out are the Regulator's general functions, those being to determine charitable status, keep a public register of charities and encourage and monitor compliance with charity legislation.

Section 7 sets out the Charity Test. The test is two-fold: the purposes of the body must be exclusively charitable and it must provide public benefit, either in Scotland or elsewhere.

The charitable purposes are listed in section 7(2). They are:

  • prevention or relief of poverty

  • advancement of education

  • advancement of religion

  • advancement of health

  • advancement of civic responsibility or community development

  • advancement of the arts, heritage, culture or science

  • advancement of amateur sport

  • advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation

  • advancement of environmental protection or improvement

  • provision of accommodation to those in need of it by reason of age, ill-health, disability, financial hardship or other disadvantage

  • provision of care to the aged, people with a disability, young people or children

  • advancement of animal welfare; or

  • any other purpose that may reasonably be regarded as analogous to any of the preceding purposes


Section 13 places restrictions on the way that bodies may use the term 'charity' to describe themselves in order to protect the charity brand and attempt to avoid confusion for the public.

Part 1 also covers co-operation and information (chapter 3), supervision of charities (chapter 4), re-organisation of charities (chapter 5), charity accounts (chapter 6), Scottish charitable incorporated organisations (chapter 7), religious charities (chapter 8), charity trustees (chapter 9) and decisions: notices, reviews and appeals (chapter 10).

Part 2: Fundraising for Benevolent Bodies

Part 2 regulates fundraising for all registered charities along with all other benevolent bodies and charitable, benevolent and philanthropic purposes.

Part 3: Investment Powers of Trustees

This part of the Bill provides an extension to the investment powers of trustees.

Part 4: General and Supplementary

Part 4 covers financial assistance for benevolent bodies (section 95), rate relief for registered community amateur sports clubs (section 96), transitional arrangements (section 97), notices, applications etc. (section 98), offences by corporate bodies etc. (section 99), ancillary provisions (section 100-102).


Further amendments were made to this Bill as it progressed through Parliament. The Act as passed can be found on the Office of Public Sector Information website.Timeline

15/11/04 - Bill introduced to Scottish Parliament by Malcolm Chisholm, Minister for Communities

Lead Committee: Communities

Stage 1

Communities Committee took evidence on the Bill at their meetings on 8/12/04, 15/12/04, 12/01/05, 16/01/05, 26/01/05, 2/02/05, 9/02/05, 23/02/05

Finance Committee took evidence on 21/12/04, 18/01/05, 25/01/05, 01/02/05

Subordinate Legislation Committee took evidence on 1/02/05, 08/02/05

02/03/05 - Stage 1 Report published by Committee recommending Parliament agree principles at Stage 1.

09/03/05 - Bill passed at Stage 1

Stage 2

Communities Committee 20/04/05, 27/04/05

05/05/05 The Bill was reprinted as amended at Stage 2. Visit external link.

Stage 3

09/06/05 - Bill passed at Stage 3 with further amendments.

Further Information

  1. The Draft Charities (Scotland) Bill: Focus Group Discussions with the General Public Findings
  2. Stage 1 Report on the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill
  3. Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill as amended at Stage 2
  4. Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill (as introduced)
  5. Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill Explanatory Notes
  6. Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Bill Policy Memorandum
  7. The Draft Charities (Scotland) Bill: Focus Group Discussions with the General Public