LETTER FROM OSCR CHAIR
Added on 07 April 2020
TO ALL TRUSTEES of registered Scottish charities, I would like to pay tribute to everyone working across the charity sector for the work that you do. A successful society cannot flourish without your efforts, and the difference you make is felt in Scotland and elsewhere.
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has brought with it unprecedented and challenging times. Charities are playing a crucial role during this crisis, but it is important to recognise that they are also operating in an extremely tough environment that brings many pressures.
My purpose in writing to you as a charity trustee is in recognition of your key role and responsibility for the governance of your charity. Charity trustees may have different names, like ‘committee members’, ‘directors’ or ‘board members’, but ultimately they are collectively responsible and should be taking every step to work together to make sure assets are looked after and purposes are fulfilled.
As regulator, we aim to provide clear information for charities and work closely with our partners to create a supportive environment. We are operating with fewer resources than usual but we have a structure in place that allows us to continue with most of our core work despite working remotely. OSCR is prioritising urgent matters identified by charities and doing our best to provide help and support. However, it will take longer than usual for us to answer some queries and process any applications.
On Monday 30 March 2020, we published COVID-19 guidance for charities. This guidance brings together information you need to know during this time and highlights other organisations who may be able to offer support. All charities should read this thoroughly. The structure of the guidance is based on the most common queries we have received during the pandemic and addresses areas such as:
•submitting annual information to OSCR
•charity meetings and governance
•funding and finance.
The information in the guidance will be regularly updated. If you feel something is missing, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Remember, our website also contains lots of other useful guidance related to running a charity. If you are unclear or unsure about anything, please ask us. It is almost certain that others will also be concerned about the same or similar matters, and we can then provide answers to a wider audience.
The COVID-19 situation is fast paced with developments happening often. To keep up-to-date with the latest information and help, please visit our website and follow us on Twitter or Facebook. In addition to information from OSCR, I would also like to point you in the direction of SCVO’s Coronavirus Third Sector Information Hub. This hub contains official information for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations.
OSCR, SCVO and ACOSVO are working closely to share knowledge to help the third sector through these difficult and challenging circumstances. We are also working closely with the Scottish Government and the Third Sector Interface (TSI) network.
Thank you again for your dedication, enthusiasm and expertise. Your role in helping Scotland deal with this crisis is crucial and we will do all we can to support you as a charity trustee.
Lindsay Montgomery CBE
Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) Chair