Becoming a SCIO

What is SCIO? 

SCIO stands for Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation. A SCIO is a legal form available to Scottish charities. Under this form your charity operates like a company and gets improved protection for the Trustees’ liability (by becoming a limited company); however, it is simpler than a normal company, being a specific legal form for charities. A SCIO is a corporate body that can enter into contracts, employ staff, incur debts, own property, sue and be sued.

It provides a high degree of protection against personal liability for its charity trustees and provides reassurance for those entering into contracts with it. Unlike charities that are limited companies, SCIOs have OSCR as a single regulator.

What are the advantages & disadvantages of being a SCIO? 

Being a SCIO offers a degree of protection to charity trustees against personal liability which isn’t found in unincorporated legal forms such as associations or trusts. Companies limited by guarantee also offer this protection but charitable companies have extra requirements compared to a SCIO. Companies that are also charities have to report to both Companies House and OSCR. SCIOs are only regulated by OSCR and are subject to the same accounting thresholds as unincorporated charities.

Most RDA Groups were set up as unincorporated Associations (and many of these still are).  RDA UK is now advising that all Groups should look into becoming incorporated bodies and the documents on the right hand side should help you find out more information on becoming a SCIO. 

These forms are also available on request by post if you prefer. If you have any further queries, please contact Amanda Perkins.

Page Last Updated: February 28, 2023