When is a UK Charity a Scottish Charity and Vice Versa??


The question was asked recently why charitable organisations in the UK who are registered with Charity Commission but who have a base in Scotland have to register also with the Scottish Regulator but if based registered in Scotland with the Scottish Regulator it does not have to register with the UK Charity Commission??

I dealt with and advised on this for a faith group last year but I will not go into the intricacies in this post as readers will have gone to bed before the time they get the last sentence.

In simplistic terms Scotland and its Parliament already have delegated powers to govern certain elements of Scottish affairs. As part of this to ensure it has good governance in place for charities operating within its remit Scotland has its own Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator of which it is said there are about 23k plus charities registered. It’s powers are limited to Scotland so if it is a charity in Scotland for Scotland then there is no need to also seek registration with the UK wide Charity Commission.

If a charity is based in the UK (irrespective of area) it must comply with the Charities Act 2011 managed by the Charity Commission under a UK Parliamentary Act which, like all UK Government Departments covers the entire providences of England, Wales, Northern Ireland, and SCOTLAND. If a charity then wishes to operate a base or project in Scotland it is first and foremost governed by the UK Charities Act through the Commission but to ensure it is also compliant with the Scottish Regulator it must also seek approval by them as well.

Without again going into detail the difference between the two are in many ways not great except there are some rules where there are technical issues but essentially when we talk about the ‘public benefit/interest’ – [UK / Scotland] in the context of the Regulator it refers to the people, regions, and causes of Scotland only – not quite detenté – but equally not quite devolution!



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