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Raise a Concern

Part of our role as the Scottish Charity Regulator is to hold charities to account and ensure they are well-run so that the public have trust and confidence in charities.

If you have a concern about the way a Scottish charity is being run, we want to hear from you.

What happens when you submit a complaint about a charity in Scotland?

Our guidance explains how OSCR deals with concerns and inquiries and sets out what you, the charity and the public can expect from us. This includes:

  • What our role as a regulator is
  • How to submit a complaint about a charity in Scotland
  • What to expect if you raise a concern about a charity
  • What happens during an inquiry
  • The end of an inquiry
  • How we communicate about concerns and inquiries

Please note, after you submit a concern we will not be in touch with you again. If your concern leads us to making inquiries with the charity, we are unable to update you on the status of those inquiries.

We may publish an inquiry report when an inquiry is of public interest or when an individual case may offer useful lessons for the wider sector. You can view our inquiry reports here.

Read the guidance

Our online concern form can be used to report serious issues where there is a significant risk of harm to the charity itself or to the people it was set up to help.

OSCR deals with complaints and concerns related to the governance of charities in Scotland. We will normally expect you to have contacted the charity trustees first.

These are some of the issues we may investigate. To support our work, we want you to tell us when it looks like:

  • a charity’s assets are at risk – for example property held by a charity is not insured or where cash held by a charity is not kept securely
  • a charity’s assets are not being used for the objects of the charity as displayed on the charity’s entry on the Scottish Charity Register
  • a person or organisation is inappropriately profiting from a charity. Our guidance explains the conditions under which trustees can be remunerated and how OSCR considers private benefit
  • a charity is not complying with its legal duties under the 2005 Act
  • a charity may be putting the people it helps at clear risk of harm. For example, by not having appropriate safeguarding procedures
  • a charity trustee has a conflict of interest and this is not being properly managed – our guidance explains what a conflict of interest is and how it should be managed
  • the charity trustees are not working collectively to run the charity as they should do. For example: one charity trustee seems to be in overall control of the charity, an employee seems to be in overall control of the charity, or none of the charity trustees are taking responsibility for the charity – this can result in serious governance problems that could harm the charity
  • an organisation is calling itself a charity when it is not (you can check if the organisation is a charity by searching the Scottish Charity Register)
  • charity trustees are significantly breaching the requirements of their governing document
  • a charity is unlawfully discriminating in the provision of its services or benefits
  • or when you have reported a matter to the police about criminal activity in a charity. The police deal with criminal investigations but you should also report this to us.

You can find more information about this in our guidance on how OSCR deals with concerns and inquiries.

If your concern is about any of the following matters, these are not for OSCR to deal with:

  • Fundraising
  • Employment issues
  • Debts due by a charity or contractual disputes with a charity
  • Decisions taken by charity trustees that are within their powers
  • Issues that are the responsibility of another regulator
  • Organisations that are not charities

You can find more information about the steps you should take (including other organisations and regulators you may wish to raise your concern with instead) in our guidance on how OSCR deals with concerns and inquiries.

How to report a concern about a Scottish charity

To make a complaint or to raise a concern about a charity in Scotland, you must complete our online concern form.

Please make sure that you provide all the information requested, as this helps us to consider your concerns as fully as possible.

Online concern form