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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.

Better regulation

We work with colleagues in the voluntary sector, in government and across parliament, and with other decision-makers, to understand what legal and regulatory changes mean for different parts of the sector and to ensure that the impacts of regulation on the sector help shape decision-making. 

Current areas of focus

We have a particular focus on the future review of charity regulation and the implementation of the Charities (Regulation and Administration) (Scotland) Act 2023, alongside the potential extension to freedom of information and issues relating to auditing. We are also engaged in important work on the Lobbying Act and removing the various barriers that voluntary organisations face when banking. 

We want to see the Scottish Government’s commitment to a wider review of charity regulation taken forward ensuring an independent, holistic approach to regulation that avoids gaps and overlaps in accountability, and results in a regulatory landscape that ultimately reflects the reality of what it is to be a charity in the modern day. 

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As OSCR and the Scottish Government proceed with the implementation of the Act’s proposals, we want to ensure that all organisations are not only aware of the forthcoming changes but are provided with effective guidance so that they can fully understand what these changes will mean for them. 

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Find out more about the new Act and how SCVO are influencing its progress on our new charity law hub.

We support the public policy aim of maintaining and strengthening people’s access to information rights. We work to ensure that policymakers develop tailored solutions that have a clear purpose to ensure that voluntary organisations continue to play their part in access to information rights. 

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SCVO is working closely with UK Finance (the membership body for the banking and finance industry), charity and community representative organisations, and banking providers across the UK on a Community Banking Project to assess and propose solutions for some of the banking-related issues affecting charity and community organisations. 

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We work closely with others in the sector to gather up-to-date evidence relating to increasing difficulties faced by voluntary organisations when appointing auditors. We want to identify solutions to those issues and work collaboratively to see those implemented. 

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The Lobbying Scotland Act 2016 seeks to increase transparency around lobbying and makes provision for the establishment and enforcement of a public Lobbying Register. To comply with the Lobbying Act, organisations must record any instances of regulated lobbying (as defined by the Act) with MSPs on the Lobbying Register. We continually monitor the Act and Register for any potential added burden on Scotland’s voluntary sector. 

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Contact the team

Kyrstie Brown

Lobbying Act, Access to banking

Jason Henderson

Review of charity regulation, Charities Bill 2023, Procurement Frameworks

David Livey

Freedom of Information

Latest consultation responses

The latest Regulation consultation responses from the policy team.

Progress & latest developments

The work of our subgroup is varied and extensive, often covering numerous areas, involving large pieces of work, and requiring the addition of new priorities as we respond to the changing regulatory environment. We consistently work in collaboration with members and partners both in Scotland and UK-wide to ensure that we are best placed to represent the voluntary sector in all regulation-related areas. If you want to share your views on any piece of work we are currently engaged with, please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

  • We’re currently engaging with the Scottish Government and OSCR on the implementation of the Charities Act 2023. 
  • We’ll be assisting with the Scottish Government’s Third Sector Unit (TSU) event at this year’s Gathering to discuss the initial stages of a wider review of charity regulation. 
  • We’re engaging across the Scottish Parliament on both the Scottish Government’s consideration of FoI reforms, and the forthcoming consultation response analysis in relation to Katy Clark MSP’s Private Members Bill. 
  • We’re meeting fortnightly with partners across the UK to further our access to banking work with UK Finance. 

Perfect storm could see voluntary groups shut - SCVO's Paul Bradley highlights the data from our Third Sector tracker and the worrying picture it paints for Scotland's voluntary sector in the coming months

Get involved

Collaborate with us and our members to develop and promote voluntary sector policy perspectives for Scotland