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The Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) is a non-ministerial department of the Scottish Government, with responsibility for the regulation of charities in Scotland. It was formerly an executive agency but following the passing of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act it was made independent of ministerial control, and answers directly to the Scottish Parliament.

The OSCR is charged with developing a regulatory framework for Scottish charities, where each charity is clear about is rights and responsibilities. This framework should also foster public confidence in charities.

It is the equivalent of the Charity Commission for England and Wales and the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Background

Under section 6 of the Law Reform (Miscellaneous Provisions) (Scotland) Act 1990, the Lord Advocate was given the power to make enquiries either for general or specific purposes and to obtain various types of information from charities. Following the Scotland Act and the establishment of both the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Government this power was exercised by the Scottish Ministers.

Initially charity regulation was carried out by a department in the Crown Office but this function was transferred to the OSCR.

By creating OSCR as a non-ministerial department it will be directly answerable to the Scottish Parliament and not to Ministers or the Scottish Government.

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