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The 6 step OSCR process

Published: 24/05/2017
Updated: 24/05/2017


Once the pre-application considerations are complete and the decision to incorporate has been taken, you are ready to start the OSCR process.

See more detail section below for your step-by-step guide. 

6 Step OSCR incorporation process

Step 1

Application for charitable status for the new charity


Complete the application form to become a charity and read the guidance carefully. The online form will ask if you are replacing an existing charity.

The new charity will need a new name, as charity law does not allow two charities with the same name on the Register. Charity trustees should consider this and it may be you simply add ‘SCIO’, the ‘year’ or ‘Limited’ (if a company) to the old charity name. 

You also need to send us: 

  • A new draft governing document – SCVO have model governing documents which you could use. For SCIO’s it is a SCIO constitution. For companies it is Articles of Association.

  • Make sure you explain the activities and public benefit – it’s a new entity, you need to assume we know nothing!

  • Make sure you complete the application form as fully as possible to enable us to assess whether the charity test is met.  

See the Checklist: Incorporation documents for OSCR

If there is insufficient evidence for us to make a decision we will let you know. 

It can take up to three months (or longer for more complex applications) for charitable status to be granted. 

Step 2

OSCR’s decision on status

We will assess the application against the Charity Test in the same way we do for all applications for charitable status. 

If charitable status is granted we will: 

  • Write to the new charity confirming status and providing the new charity number. 

  • The new charity will be entered on the Scottish Charity Register - there will be a cross-reference identifying the relationship between the old and new charity. 

As both charities are on the Register, this gives the old charity time to deliver its activities as normal, and make sure the full transfer takes place effectively. 

Until the old charity is removed from the Register, both charities will have to fulfil the annual reporting requirements and other regulatory requirements.

Step 3

The new charity

If the new charity is issuing external documents, these must state the details of the new charity (for example the new name and charity number). 

If the new charity is a SCIO, it must state it is a SCIO on its external documents. 

We will exercise some discretion in this area as charities use up old batches of stationery. 

Read our guidance that outlines the specific requirements you must meet. 

Step 4

Applying to wind up the old charity and OSCR’s consent

Complete the Application form for Consent to Wind-up

See the Checklist: Incorporation documents for OSCR. 

You must ask for our consent at least 42 days before you propose to wind up the old charity. 

If we grant consent to wind up the old charity: 

  • We will tell you in writing and set out the requirement to notify us once the wind up is complete.

  • You can start the transfer of assets once the new charity is on the register and the old charity has consent to wind up.

  • You must follow the rules set out in the old charity’s governing document for how to wind up. For example you may need to pass a special resolution at a general meeting.

  • You also need to follow any rules set out by other Regulators you fall under. 

Step 5 


Transferring the various assets and liabilities from the old charity to the new charity can take time, depending on the type of things being transferred. 

See the Factsheets and FAQs for more information.

Step 6

Notifying OSCR and removal of the old charity

When the transfers are complete you must notify us that the old charity has wound up. You must tell us within three months of the wind up being completed. 

You will have to send us:

  • the completed declaration sent out when we gave our consent and,

  • any evidence we requested, such as evidence of transfer – date of completion, closing of the old bank account. 

See the Checklist: Incorporation documents for OSCR

Once we receive the information we will remove the old charity from the Register and the OSCR process is complete. 

You may still need to complete other activities and processes not related to OSCR. For example HMRC, Care Inspectorate. 

At this point you may also want to change the name of the new charity to that of the old one – see FAQs.