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Charities should push for innovative reforms

27th March 2019

Head of Charity law at Lindsays, Alastair Keatinge, urges charities to push the Scottish Government for wider reforms of charity law 

Alastair Keatinge, a founding member of Scotland’s Third Sector Governance Forum, believes that the Scottish Governments’ current consultation on reform to Scottish charity law is a missed opportunity to look at wider reforms.  Here he explains some of the implications of the proposed legal changes on charities and third sector organisations across Scotland but warns that it fell short of expectations and advises charities to submit their views before 1 April 2019. 

Keatinge is a Partner at Lindsays’ and heads up the Charity and Social Enterprise team, and is accredited as a specialist in Charity Law by the Law Society of Scotland. He has been advising charity and not-for-profit clients for more than 20 years, focusing on the governance aspects of charity law including corporate governance, constitutional issues and charity reorganisations. He is the author of the Governance chapter in the book, 'A Practical Guide to Charity Law in Scotland' and a Trustee of Epic Assist Charity and Million Seater Stadium. 

Lindsays’ Head of Charity law, Alastair Keatinge, said: 

“The current Scottish Government consultation on Scottish charity law is likely to result in the first meaningful change to the legal framework governing charities, social enterprises and third sector in 13 years. However, what has been proposed falls short of what many people in the sector were expecting, and there is a fundamental mismatch between the stated ambition and the actual proposals. 

“The consultation is of very narrow scope and simply asks questions on the changes which OSCR has requested that the Scottish Government makes to the current Charities Legislation. This seems like a missed opportunity to consider a wider package of reforms to the law to support the third sector to develop innovative solutions to meet the new challenges they face. 

“Nonetheless, the changes that are proposed will have a significant impact on the sector, and therefore it is hugely important that charities, social enterprises and other third sector organisations make their views known. It also a good opportunity to push the Scottish Government to consider the wider reforms necessary for the sector to thrive in the future. As such, this opportunity is as much about pointing out what is missing, as well as commenting on what has been proposed. 

Charities should take the opportunity to submit responses to the Consultation and they have until 1 April 2019 – for more information and to respond, simply click here.

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