COVID-19: The Charity (Third Sector) position

Tony Sinclair | 21 April 2020

COVID-19: The Charity (Third Sector) position


For all our information around COVID-19 visit

This article was updated 6pm Tuesday 21st April. 

Trying to summarise the impact COVID-19 / Coronavirus is having on the charitable / third sector in one simple blog, with the myriad of fantastic work these organisations do across so many areas, is no mean feat…but we’re going to try!

In essence, you might separate charities into two categories;

  • Charities that receive their income mainly through local authority/government/other grants; and
  • Charities that generate / raise money (through donations, investment portfolios etc.).

For the first group, in the main, government / grant funding is not impacted as yet – but of course what happens to funding in future years is unknown.

In the latter category, organisations are already being hit (or will be hit) pretty hard as their donations decline or the value of their investments falls – which may impact either the on-going services they deliver or, for grant giving charities, the funds they distribute.

In addition to the general financial support already announced there is specific funding available for the charity sector. However some of this is service specific and other funding is provided to support charities where the call on their services has increased due to the crisis.  An example of this is the Third Sector Resilience Fund (TSRF), a £20m emergency fund for charities, community groups, social enterprises and voluntary organisations working in Scotland. The fund supports organisations that already deliver services and products but find themselves in financial difficulties directly as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. More information can be found on the SCVO website by clicking here.

We have been advising some of our existing charity clients in regards to HR and furloughing staff.  Again speaking generally, where a charity receives government grant funding which is used to pay for staff costs then they can’t furlough these staff and it is expected that they continue to be paid. If some staff are paid from other funding, say general donations and fundraising, then these staff could be furloughed.

The Scottish regulator, OSCR, is taking a pragmatic view and charities will not be penalised where their accounts or annual returns are late although the regulator does need to be kept informed. Again, we have already done this for some charity clients so if you require assistance please just let us know.

Additional resources:

We appreciate the above is pretty general information, but there is more specific content available elsewhere which we won’t try to replicate.  You may wish to look at:

In addition, our Business Loans & Grants blog covers the numerous schemes available to businesses, but also features information on Museum Galleries Scotland and Creative Scotland support available.

Click here to see Tony's profile and contact details.


Contact us:

At French Duncan we have a lot of experience in working with charitable organisations, whether in Audit, HR Services, general accounting or other areas.

Whilst some of our staff are currently working from home, all of the above can be contacted on their email addresses or on 0141 221 2984.


Other COVID-19 Information:

For all our help, support and information around COVID-19 / Coronavirus visit, where you can link to articles deferring HMRC payments, tax and business rates, debt assistance & restructuring and much more.




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