References to charitable status
22.Section 13 places restrictions on the way that bodies may use the term “charity” to describe themselves in order to protect the charity brand and attempt to avoid confusion for the public. Under section 13(1), only bodies entered in the Scottish Charity Register (“the Register”) may refer to themselves as a “charity”, a “charitable body”, a “registered charity” or a “charity registered in Scotland”. Bodies registered elsewhere, such as with the Charity Commission in England and Wales, often currently refer to themselves as “registered charities”, but under this Act they will not be able to do this in Scotland unless they are also registered with OSCR or specifically note where they are registered, for instance that they are “registered in England and Wales” or “with the Charity Commission”.
23.Under section 13(2), bodies on the Register which are established under the law of Scotland, or are managed or controlled in Scotland may use the terms “Scottish Charity” or “registered Scottish charity” to describe themselves. This provision aims to distinguish those charities which are directly registered with OSCR and based in Scotland from those which may be based elsewhere but also operate here.
24.A large number of “foreign” charities (i.e. registered outside Scotland) may only have relatively minor operations in Scotland, such as sending a newsletter or information to Scottish members, awarding a grant to a body in Scotland or merely advertising in a newspaper which may also be seen in Scotland. Under section 14, as long as they are registered elsewhere, do not occupy premises or carry out activities in an office, shop etc. in Scotland, these bodies may operate in Scotland using the term “charity” without having to register with OSCR only if they also refer to the territory where they are registered as charities. Hence such a body might, for example, refer to itself factually as a “charity registered in England and Wales” a “French charity” or a “charity recognised by the HM Revenue and Customs” in Northern Ireland.
25.It is intended that all charities will have to clearly label their main documents to show that they are a charity and are registered (with names as set out above). Section 15 confers powers on the Scottish Ministers to make regulations requiring this and setting the detailed provisions about which documents must state a charity’s name etc. This will allow the Scottish Ministers to vary the documents to be labelled over time as different forms of communication or finance are introduced or to exempt certain charities or types of charity from some of these requirements. Initially, after allowing sufficient time for existing stocks of documents to be used up, it is expected that charities will have to label documents such as cheques, credit cards and annual reports, headed notepaper, raffle tickets and other advertising material etc.