Change your charity’s purpose(s)

Published: 20/11/2018
Updated: 20/11/2018

If you want to change your charity's purposes you need OSCR’s consent first.

You cannot make any changes unless and until you get our consent. This is because we need to check that

a) you have the power to change your purposes, and
b) the new purposes are charitable.

To meet the charity test and be a charity in Scotland you must have only charitable purposes.
 

Your charity’s purposes are set out in your governing document, they may be called ‘purposes’ ‘objects’, ‘aims’ or ‘objectives’.

The purposes in your governing document don’t need to be exactly the same as the charitable purposes in the 2005 Act, but it should be easy to see how they relate to them. Detailed guidance about each purpose and how to write them can be found in our Meeting the Charity Test: Guidance.


Writing charitable purposes
Each purpose you have must fit within at least one of the charitable purposes set out in the 2005 Act.  We recommend you get advice on writing your charitable purposes. You could use the following wording to structure your purposes:

 

‘To advance…         [charitable purpose]  by…   [very brief outline of activities]’

‘To promote…         [charitable purpose]  by…   [very brief outline of activities]’

‘To provide…           [charitable purpose]  by…   [very brief outline of activities]’

 ‘To relieve…           [charitable purpose]  by…   [very brief outline of activities]’

 

APPLICATION FORM: Making changes to your charity's purpose(s)

 

FAQs about change of purpose(s)


Yes. Changing the wording of the purposes in the governing document, no matter how minor, is a change to the purposes. Even a small change could mean that the charity no longer has charitable purposes. This would cause it to fail the charity test.

When we get your application to change your purpose(s) we check if:

  • you have given us all the information we need to make a decision
  • you have made the application at least 42 days before the change is planned
  • your governing document and/or legal form gives you the power to make the change
  • the new purpose(s) are charitable and meet that requirement of the charity test.

You can’t make the change until we give you our consent. We aim to give you a decision within 28 days. There are two possible outcomes:

  1. We give our consent to change your purpose(s): this means you can now make the change following the rules in your governing document and the law governing your legal form.
  2. We refuse our consent to change your purpose(s): this means you cannot change the purpose(s).

You can now make the change following the rules in your governing document and law governing your legal form. Once you’ve made the change you must notify us within 3 months by sending the information we asked for when we gave consent to make the change.

We will only update your purposes on the Scottish Charity Register once we receive this information. 

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You can use the Notification of Changes Made Form to inform us of these changes or email us at info@oscr.org.uk.

There are two reasons: 

  1. we do not believe you have the power to make the change and/or
  2. the new purpose(s) are not entirely charitable and do not meet that requirement of the charity test. 

If we refuse consent, we will explain the reasons why and how you can ask us to review our decision, if you disagree. Our review procedures set out in more detail what to expect if you request a review.