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Supporting Scotland's vibrant voluntary sector

Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations

The Scottish Council for Voluntary Organisations is the membership organisation for Scotland's charities, voluntary organisations and social enterprises. Charity registered in Scotland SC003558. Registered office Mansfield Traquair Centre, 15 Mansfield Place, Edinburgh EH3 6BB.

The Charities Bill has been introduced – help shape SCVO’s response

When the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act was first passed in the Scottish Parliament, the average price of a pint was £2.40, sold in venues that would not yet see smoking indoors banned until the following year. The best-selling phone in the world was the Nokia 1110, complete with the newest version of Snake Xenzia. Online, Myspace was the dominant social media platform, with Twitter yet to come into existence and Facebook merely in its infancy.  

For some of us, it might be reassuring to think of 2005 as not that long ago but, alas, it turns out 17 years is indeed quite a long time. If the world has changed markedly over the last few years, as I’m sure we would all agree it has, then in many ways it is almost unrecognisable from the one we inhabited in 2005. It is, therefore, understandable that the environment in which charities in Scotland operate has changed massively in that time-period too. 

It is in that context, then, that the Scottish Government’s Charities (Regulation & Administration) (Scotland) Bill was finally introduced at Parliament at the end of last year, following a long and fairly extensive engagement process on the proposals with the voluntary sector that began in 2019 – a process in which SCVO was heavily involved throughout.  

There will now be a further opportunity to provide input. The Scottish Parliament’s Social Justice and Social Security Committee is looking for written views via both a detailed consultation and a short survey on the Bill, with a 3rd February deadline for both. In addition, the Finance and Public Administration Committee has launched its consultation on the Bill’s Financial Memorandum, which comes with a deadline of 17th February. 

As you would expect, SCVO will be taking this opportunity to provide our input, shaped by the views of the voluntary sector. That is why I’d like to ask that you consider completing our own short survey on the Charities Bill and demand for a wider review of charity regulation. Additionally, for those with particularly strong views or concerns, I will be making myself available throughout January for online one-to-one calls to discuss the Bill in more detail. If that’s something that you would be interested in, please don’t hesitate to e-mail me at Your input will be invaluable to SCVO’s influencing work around this Bill in the coming weeks and we look forward to doing our part in ensuring this legislation is as efficient and clear as possible.  

As an organisation, we support the need for the regulator to have the powers it needs to fulfil its crucial role - but we also support the need for a more detailed review of the future of charity regulation in Scotland. We are therefore encouraged that the Scottish Government has now formally committed to carrying out a wider review after the passage of this legislation. 

Nokia phones, ashtrays in bars, and Tom from Myspace all once had their place and yet, beyond perhaps a misty-eyed sense of nostalgia, we accept the need for progress and modernisation to keep pace with the ever-changing world in which we live. We cannot accept any less when it comes to the legislation that provides and shapes the landscape our charities operate within.  

Last modified on 26 January 2023