How to complain about a charity (Scotland)

Constituents sometimes ask Members of Parliament how to complain about a charity. This page outlines various options depending on the nature of the complaint.

OSCR, the Scottish Charity Regulator, is the regulator and registrar for Scotland’s charities.

The OSCR will investigate some, but by no means all, concerns raised with it.

To see if a charity is registered in Scotland a constituent should search the Scottish Charity Register.

Issues to be taken up with the trustees of a charity

The trustees of a charity are responsible for the running of the charity. In most cases a concern should be raised with the trustees first.

The OSCR page Raise a concern gives examples of issues to be dealt with by charity trustees, and those to be dealt with by the Regulator and by Police Scotland.

Complaints to other bodies and agencies

In some circumstances, it might be appropriate to direct a complaint to another agency.

Fundraising complaints

Fundraising complaints against charities which are only registered in Scotland may be referred to the Scottish Fundraising Standards Panel. The Independent Panel’s core functions are to:

  • oversee fundraising standards in Scotland; and
  • oversee fundraising complaints.

The Fundraising Regulator investigates complaints in Scotland where the fundraising is carried out by charities registered primarily with the Charity Commission for England and Wales or the Charity Commission for Northern Ireland.

Advertising complaints

The Advertising Standards Authority is the United Kingdom’s independent regulator of advertising across all media. A constituent may contact the Advertising Standards Authority to complain about:

  • an advertising campaign which he or she thinks is offensive, deceptive or inaccurate
  • the quantity of mail or email he or she receives from a charity

[Gov.uk: Complain about a charity]

Serious concerns to be taken up with the OSCR

Regulatory issues of concern to the public should be reported to OSCR.

Serious complaints must be reported to Police Scotland and then to OSCR.

The OSCR page Raise a concern gives examples of issues to be dealt with by charity trustees, and those to be dealt with by the Regulator and by Police Scotland.