MacKay Hannah

Changing Scottish Charity Law: What is the Scottish Government proposing and what more is possible?

Thu 7th Nov 2019

, Hanover Housing Conference Centre

OVERVIEW View Conference Agenda

This conference examines the Scottish Government's proposals to change Scottish charity law, discusses the wider strategic picture for charities and the Third Sector in Scotland, considers how the status and value of modern charities in Scotland can be more comprehensively enhanced and assesses core challenges on leadership, funding, social partnership and the core value of charities in civic Scotland.

The Scottish Government's consultation on proposals to change Scottish charity law closed on 1st April 2019 with its response and recommendations to come once all responses have been considered. Launched on advice from the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) with the intention of "increasing transparency, accountability and public trust" in the sector, the range of issues consulted upon comes 17 years after the review which led to the establishment of OSCR and almost 14 years since the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act.

However, the consultation paper also states that the Scottish Government "remain open as to what if any changes are required to the statutory framework, and will be guided by the consultation responses". In this context, the call from SCVO and others for a more comprehensive review of legislation, the development of a strong contemporary definition of 'public benefit' - and consequent clarity on the identity of 'modern charity' - and a strengthened role for OSCR, suggests a broader and more fundamental restating of charity, status and purpose.

Beyond Scotland, the Civil Society Futures independent inquiry into "how English civil society can flourish in an ever changing world" - chaired by Julia Unwin, former Chief Executive of the Joseph Rowntree Foundation - has also raised interesting questions for civil society in a Scottish context. Should such considerations also be reflected in the outcome of the present consultation in some way?

Aside from the broader legal and regulatory framework within which Scottish charities and the Third Sector operate, a range of further operational challenges exist.

  • How can effective leadership be best promoted and delivered?
  • Can succession planning for Boards and executive leaders be strengthened?
  • What are the possibilities for nurturing career progression within the sector?

In parallel with these human resource issues are questions about the relationship with social enterprises, competition for funding and parity of esteem in working in collaborative relationships with the public sector.

Finally, what should social partnership mean and how do we best value and develop it in a fast changing world where everything from Brexit through to climate change, the impact of social media and the development of digital societies and the context of an ageing population, all suggest that effective charities operating within a healthy civil society are critically important to delivering resilience in an uncertain world.

Benefits of Attending

  • Find out about the Scottish Government's proposed changes to Scottish charity law
  • Discuss how transparency, accountability and trust can be more deeply developed
  • Hear what is needed to develop the Scottish modern charity brand
  • Test what changes are being proposed and why and what more could be done
  • Consider how charities view regulatory compliance and adopting good practice
  • Understand the development of Scottish charity law from a legal practitioner perspective
  • Explore the importance of leadership, succession planning and career progression for the Third Sector
  • Examine the impact on charities of Social Enterprise, access to funding, value of parity of esteem and importnace of social partnership
  • Reflect on the implications for Scotland of the UK Unwin Inquiry in recognising, valuing and supporting civil society

Who Should Attend

All organisations working in and with the Scottish charitable sector, Scottish Charities, sector legal and financial advisors, funding bodies, regulators, Third Sector organisations, central and local government and public sector partners in health, social work, housing, care and education. Chief Executives, Directors of Strategy, Policy, Finance, HR, Service Managers, Board Chairs and Members, Trustees and Modernisation and Change Managers.

If you are a small charity or voluntary organisationand the cost of this conference will make it difficult for you to attend, please contact Gail to discuss and we will see what we may be able do.  


Calum Irving

Head - Third Sector Unit, Scottish Government

Caryn Nicolson

CEO, Frontline Fife Homelessness Services

Anna Fowlie

Chief Executive Officer, SCVO

Pat Armstrong OBE

Chief Executive, ACOSVO (Association of Chief Officers of Scottish Voluntary Organisations)

Dr Sophie Flemig

Chief Executive, The Cattanach Charitable Trust and Member, Accounts Commission for Scotland

Maureen Mallon

Chief Executive, OSCR

Lee Stevenson

Trustee - Association of Charity Independent Examiners and Organisational Support Officer, SVE

Richard Baker

Policy Manager, Royal Blind and Scottish War Blinded

Ewan Aitken

Chief Executive Officer, Cyrenians

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"I felt all the speakers were very good and gave informative presentations."

Gary MacKenzie, Criminal Justice South Ayrshire,
Criminal Justice Scotland Conference, 23/01/18