Jargon Buster

Find your way through the maze of buzz words and Third Sector jargon with the Community Toolkit glossary of words and terms commonly used by funders and agencies.



Accrued Accounts


This form of accounting matches income to expenditure at the time the transaction occurs rather than when payment is made or received.


Action Plan


Lists actions to be taken to develop or improve an organisation, project or performance




A way of measuring the added benefits of a project which highlights the changes brought about which would not have occurred if the project hadn't taken place.


Added Value


The value added by your activity. A chef 'adds value' to food by cooking it, which is why we are prepared to pay more for the cooked meal than the raw ingredients. When used in relation to the Third or Voluntary Sector, the phrase ‘added value’  indicates the distinctive or specialist contribution that community or voluntary organizations make, setting them apart from public or private sector organisations.


Adult Protection


Adult Protection refers to the procedures and legislation that protects any person over the age of 16 years who is considered vulnerable and at risk of harm. The Adult Support and Protection (Scotland) Act 2007 gives legal protection to anyone over the age of 16 who is unable to safeguard themselves, their property, rights or other interests, is at risk of harm and is more vulnerable to being harmed, because they are affected by disability, mental disorder, illness or physical or mental infirmity. 

Vulnerable adults are also protected under the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act where the definition of a ‘protected’ adult refers to any individual aged 16 or over who is in receipt of one or more type of care, health or welfare service.

Adult abuse can be physical or psychological harm, neglect, sexual abuse or financial exploitation.

Aims and Objectives


Aims: the long-lasting goals of your group.   Objectives: breakdown of how you will achieve those aims


Annual Accounts


Accounts prepared at the end of your organisation's financial year, drawing together and analyzing your financial activity over the last 12 months. Annual Accounts are prepared either by your organizations Treasurer or an appointed accountant.


Annual General Meeting (AGM)


A public meeting, held once a year, giving your members the opportunity to review the work of the group over the past year and to be part of the planning for the coming year.  An AGM agenda commonly includes a review of actvities, election/re-election of the committee/board members, adoption of the Annual Accounts and the election of an independent examiner and/or accountant.


Annual Reports


Most voluntary groups and voluntary management committees produce an annual report and many have a legal obligation to do so under the Companies Act 1990. Commonly used to promote the organisation's aims and activities and give feedback to members. Can also be used to attract potential funders and donors, recruit volunteers and advertise services to potential users and referring agencies.




The main part of the governing document of an incorporated organisation. Full title Memorandum and Articles of Association. The Articles set out the rules on how the organisation will operate including aims, purposes, powers and the framework within which it works.




Fixed assets are things like equipment or property that you would have to sell in order to get any money. Inexpensive bits of capital equipment (like staplers or waste-paper bins) are not usually counted as fixed assets. Current assets are money in the bank and any money owed to you.


Asset-Based Development  


The use of an asset to acquire or maintain income.  The term is used to describe a form of community-based development built around an asset that generates independent income.  Commonly the asset is a building and income could be generated from renting out space. Alternatively, the asset is a permanent financial endowment generating interest.




Audit – to examine, verify, or correct the financial accounts. Not all accounts are required to be audited – this will depend on your group’s legal structure, gross income, whether or not you are a registered charity and what is stated in your governing document (constitution).  The law makes a distinction between accounts that have been professionally 'audited' (by a professional auditor) and those that have been independently examined (by an independent examiner). 

Company and Charity legislation set out when and how an audit must be conducted and what an auditor must do.




An auditor is by legal definition a person/firm capable of conducting an audit under the provisions of section 25 of the Companies Act 1989, i.e. a member of one of the six Consultative Committee of Accountancy Bodies (CCAB) who has "registered" as an auditor. An audit is a thorough examination/verification of financial/accounting records and supporting documents by a registered auditor.



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Benevolent body


Any body, whether or not it is a charity, which has been set up for charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.


Benevolent fundraising


The process of seeking money or promises of money for the benefit of benevolent bodies (and companies connected with them) or for general charitable, benevolent or philanthropic purposes.




The governing body of an incorporated organisation.  A board is made up of individuals who are your group or organisations directors.  Collectively, as a board, the directors are responsible for giving the organization direction, keeping things legal, being accountable and managing progress.


Book keeping


Procedure for keeping note of financial transactions including sales, purchases, income and payments. Book-keeping may be done by hand in a cash ledger or on a computer spreadsheet or using a specialist software package. Usually refers to the daily financial record keeping carried out by your Treasurer. All community organizations are required to keep some kind of financial record.




A budget is a financial plan showing income (money coming in) and expenditure (money going out) for the year ahead. Drawing up a budget enables you to see how much money your group/organisation needs to carry out its planned activities, identifys deficits (or surplus) and highlights potential cash flow issues.


Business Plan


A written projection, often for 1-5 years, for a project or programme of work. Sometimes only related to income and expenditure, but often set within an organisation's wider framework.


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Capacity Building


A wide range of support, techniques and initiatives which aim to build the capacity of individuals or organisations within communities to effectively contribute to the growth and development of the local community.


Capital Costs


Capital costs refer to the purchase of equipment, furnishings, premises or other items that cost substantial amounts and will last for several years. For example, costs incurred in purchasing computers, a minibus or new premises are all capital costs. All other costs are revenue costs.


Cash Flow


Cash flow is the movement of cash (including bank deposits) in and out of an organisation.  Can give a measure of the health of an organisation during a specified period of time.




 Person who takes lead responsibility for a meeting, committee or board.


Charitable Status


The status of a group or organisation that has passed the two-part Charity Test and is entered on the Scottish Charity Register by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR). It is a legal offence in Scotland for a group to refer to itself as a charity if it is not on the Scottish Charity Register

Charitable Trust


Charitable Trust refers to an unincorporated legal structure where the Trustees are usually the only members and decision-making rests entirely with them. Once appointed, the Trustees of a Charitable Trust usually have an unlimited term of office  - they do not have to stand for re-election and can basically hold their offices until they resign (or die). Charitable Trusts were often set up in the past by a group of individuals concerned for the protection and management of specific assets. Not to be confused with Development Trusts



A group or organization that has passed the two-part Charity Test and has been added to the Scottish Charity Register by the Office of the Scottish  Charity Regulator (OSCR). In Scotland, it is a criminal offence to refer to a group as a charity if it is not on the Scottish Charity Register


Charity Accounts


Annual Accounts required to be produced by a charity. The format and requirements for Annual Accounts prepared by registered charities in Scotland are set out in the Charity and Trustees Investment (Scotland) Act regulated by the Office of the Scottish Charity Register (OSCR). All charities are required to have their Annual Accounts externally scrutinized. 


Charity Test


 The two part Charity Test applied by Office of the Scottish  Charity Regulator (OSCR) as part of the registration process for any group applying for charitable status. The test requires you to demonstrate that your purposes are charitable (as defined by the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005) and that your activities are providing public benefit

Child Protection


Child Protection refers to the legal protection of children and young people from abuse. If your community group’s activities or services involve children you will need to ensure that you have done all you can to ensure that those children are protected from harm. Part of this responsibility will involve having secure and robust recruitment procedures in place and to enroll with the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme.


Code of Conduct


Written set of guidelines which outlines the principles and expectations of how an organisation expects its staff, volunteers, members and users to act.




Group of people elected or appointed to perform a specific function e.g. governance or management committee; research and development committee; finance committee.


Community Appraisal


Survey of local issues, need and opinion on a particular issue.


Community Buildings


Buildings for use by community groups, and run by community or volunteer-led organisations.


Community Development


The development of communal activity to improve quality of life in a particular geographical area.


Community Groups


Any volunteer-led organisation or association of people, working together on common interests to provide services and benefits to the community. Any surplus income (or ‘profit’) generated by a community group will be put back into sustaining the group’s activities/services or protecting the community’s assets. Individuals within a community group do not make or take personal gain.


Community Interest Company (CIC)


A Community Interest Company (CIC) is a limited liability company providing services or activities for community benefit. CIC's operate on a business model often trading as a social enterprise.  Any assets and profits are ‘asset locked’ to be used exclusively to further the aims of benefiting the community - either a specific geographic community or a community of interest (a specific group of people).


Community Plan


Community Plans are usually developed by Community Planning Partnerships.  They build on a vision for the future of the area and how the public agencies will work in partnership to achieve the vision. 


Community Planning


A process through which local authorities come together with third sector and private sector organisations to identify needs, plan for and provide services and resources and promote the future wellbeing of the area. 


Community Profile


A summary of the past, present and anticipated future of an area.  Can be used to identify problems, impact of proposed action, and provide evidence to help develop an action plan, inform the development of a project, assist in allocation of resources, or support a proposal or funding bid etc.


Community Sector


 See Third Sector.


Community Transport


Transport provided by third sector organisations, using a combination of volunteers and paid staff.




A written agreement which defines and manages the relationship between the Third Sector and one or more Public Sector bodies.


Companies House


The registrar and regulatory body of companies in the UK. Responsible for incorporating and dissolving limited companies, examining and storing company information delivered under the Companies Act and related legislation, and making this information available to the public.


Company Ltd By Guarantee


Incorporated legal structure suitable for voluntary organisations that employ staff, own buildings or other tangible assets, or have substantial turnover.  Personal liability for directors is limited, usually to £1 and any ‘profits’  must be reinvested into sustaining the company’s activities and services.




A group’s governing document which sets out the rules on how it operates including aims, purpose(s), powers and the framework within which it works. A group's legal structure, aims and whether or not they are seeking charitable status, will all determine the format and name of their governing document.




A professional that can assist a project or organisation at specific times by providing expert or specialist advice.


Contingency Costs


Money budgeted for unforeseen expenditure.




Written agreement between people or organisations that is enforceable by law.


Core Funding


An organisation’s central pot of money to cover running costs and overheads.


Council for Voluntary Services


See Third Sector Interface



CRBS (Central Registered Body in Scotland)


The Central Registered Body in Scotland (CRBS) offers community groups free access to disclosure checks on volunteers as well as guidance, advice and support relating to working with children and vulnerable adults and the Protection of Vulnerable Groups Act (Scotland).


Crowd Funding


Raising funds by generating multiple donations or loans from a  'crowd' of like-minded people - usually via the internet. Donors will often receive something in return for their gift, such as a ‘money-can't-buy’ experience. Used by entrepreneurs looking for backing to start a business, or by politicians seeking support for an electoral campaign, crowd funding can also be used by community groups or organizations seeking backing for a social enterprise venture or larger charities as part of a fundraising strategy.  Also called crowd financing, equity crowdfunding, or hyper funding.


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Data Protection


Data Protection refers to the use and protection of personal data. It is governed by The Data Protection Act. Individuals have a right to know what personal data you hold , how you are using it and that it is being processed and secured in a responsible manner. The legislation offers individuals the right to prevent the processing of personal data, particularly if it is being used for direct marketing purposes.


Democratic structure


A governance structure for a group which ensures all eligible people have an equal say in the decisions that affect the group


Development Plans


Produced by Local Authorities, development plans set out policies and proposals for development and use of land in their area.


Development Trusts


The term Development Trust does not refer to a specific legal structure.  It can be applied to any group or organisation which is owned and managed by the local community, has social aims relating to improving the economy, environment and culture of a community, generates its own income through enterprise and the ownership of assets and re-invests any ‘profits’ back into running the organisation or benefiting the community.  Development Trusts are incorporated and some will have charitable status. 




An elected or appointed member of the management committee or board of an incorporated organisation (such as a Company Ltd by Guarantee or Community Interest Company).



Under the Equality Act 2010, a disability is a physical or mental impairment that has a ‘substantial’ and ‘long-term’ negative effect on a person’s ability to do normal daily activities.


Disciplinary Procedures


A disciplinary procedure is used when an employer needs to tell an employee something is wrong with their conduct or performance. The procedure should be based on the minimum standards laid out in the ACAS’ Code of Practice, allowing the employer to explain clearly what improvement is required, and giving an opportunity for the employee to explain their side of the situation.




Disclosures typically contain impartial and confidential criminal history information held by the police and government departments on an individual. Disclosures will either be referred to as PVG Scheme Records (if they are issued in respect of a volunteer or employee who is carrying out ‘regulated work’ ) or Disclosure Certificates (available for positions outwith the scope of the PVG scheme). Used as part of a recruitment process, they can help employers meet their legal duty of making sure that an individual is suitable to be working with children or other vulnerable people.




Direct discrimination  means treating one person worse than another because of one of the protected characteristics (age, disability, gender reassignment, marital status, pregnancy, race, religion, belief, sex or sexual orientation).

Indirect discrimination means putting in place a rule or policy or way of doing things, that has a worse impact on someone with a protected characteristic than someone without one, when this cannot be objectively justified.




The winding up or dissolving of an organization. The formal legal processes concerned will depend on whether or not the organisation is incorporated, solvent, and whether the group has charitable status.



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Equal Opportunities


Equal opportunities are about ensuring that under-represented groups are provided with a fair and equal opportunity to participate. This means listening to people's individual needs and not treating everyone the same. Equal opportunities are regulated by the Equality Act 2010.




Assessment of a project or programme to identify the extent to which objectives have been achieved, how efficiently they have been achieved, and whether there are any lessons to be gained for the future.


Exit strategy


An outline of what you see happening to a project or activity once your objective has been completed.


External Scrutiny (of accounts)


All charities are required by charity legislation to have their accounts externally scrutinized. External Scrutiny refers to having someone independent and/or suitably qualified to look over the accounts. It will either be an independent examination or an audit depending on your group’s structure, charitable status, income, the type of Accounts you prepare and/or your constitution or any decision from your group’s committee or board.


Extraordinary general meeting (EGM)


A meeting of the whole membership of the group, called at short notice to discuss an urgent matter.


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Feasibility Study


Undertaken before any technical development or implementation of a project.  It will show the strengths and weaknesses of any existing or proposed projects, and will include opportunities and threats presented by the environment and any resources needed to carry out the project to completion.  Normally feasibility is judged on cost and value.


Fit and proper persons test


Drawn up by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) for charities that trade or have a trading arm, to ensure that those dealing with tax matters are fit and proper.


Flexible working


Flexible working arrangements include job sharing, part-time working; career breaks or working from home. Anyone can ask their employer for flexible work arrangements, but the law provides some employees with the statutory right to request a flexible working pattern.


Focus Groups


A small group of people brought together to focus on a particular issue. They encourage discussion, reflection and the exchange of ideas and opinions.


Food Hygiene


Covered by the Food Safety Act 1990.  Covers regulations on registration of food premises, temperature control, general food hygiene and offences relating to the sale or keeping for sale of food and powers of inspection held by Environmental Health Officers.


Freedom of Information


Freedom of Information (FOI) legislation states that data subjects have the right to request access to personal data you might hold on file about them.  


Friendly Societies


An old style of legal structure. Originally, a Friendly Society was a benevolent unincorporated society set up to offer its members mutual relief and benefit (usually in respect of alleviating hardship associated with sickness, unemployment or old age).  These old style Friendly Societies are most often associated with offering pensions, loans or insurance services. Existing Friendly Societies are regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA). They do not register any new Friendly Societies.


Full Cost Recovery


Full costs refer to all the costs directly relating to a project including overheads The term ‘full cost recovery’ means securing funding for – or ‘recovering’ – all of these costs.



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Gift Aid


A government scheme which enables charities and community amateur sports clubs (CASC’s) to reclaim tax on donations of money made by UK taxpayers.




Refers to the overall guidance, direction and supervision of the organisation - making sure that it acts in line with its constitution and legal identity. In the voluntary sector it is most often used in connection with the role of committees or boards.




Money given to an organisation that does not need to be repaid. A grant will be either unrestricted (against expenditure on any aspect of the organizations activities) or restricted (to cover specifically identified areas of activity or capital items). 


Grant making Trust


Grant making bodies usually set up as charitable trusts specifically to offer funding to other organizations or individuals.


Grievance Procedure


Grievances are concerns, problems or complaints that employees raise with their employer. Grievance Procedures are how your group or organisation deals with these. The ACAS’ Code of Practice sets out minimum standards for dealing with grievances and your Grievance Procedures should be based on these.


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Unwanted behaviour that has the purpose or effect of violating a person’s dignity or creates a degrading, humiliating, hostile, intimidating or offensive environment.


Health and Safety


Processes and procedures in place to protect people against risks to health or safety arising out of work/activities.


Holiday Entitlement


Holiday entitlement is paid time off work granted by employers to employees. Almost all workers are legally entitled to a statutory holiday entitlement per year. Also called annual leave.

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Broader or longer-term effects (intended, unintended, positive and negative) of a project or organisation’s outputs, outcomes and activities. Impact is less tangible and therefore harder to measure than inputs and outputs.


Inaugural General Meeting


First meeting of a newly formed group, often this is the meeting at which the group will elect its first committee and adopt its constitution.


Income and Expenditure Accounts


Income and Expenditure Accounts (also sometimes called Receipts and Payments Accounts) - are the simplest format for annual accounts.  They record exactly what money your group has had coming in (income or receipts) and what has gone out (expenditure or payments) over the 12 month period of your financial year and reconcile this to the opening and closing bank and cash balances held by the group.




Becoming incorporated refers to the process of becoming a company and giving your group or organisation a legal identity of its own (separate from the individuals involved). 


Independent Examination


See External Scrutiny.




Specific data that can be measured to determine whether an activity, project or organisation has met a particular outcome.


Industrial and Provident Societies


An Industrial and Provident Society (IPS) is a legal structure for an incorporated organisation or enterprise trading or operating for community benefit. An IPS can be run either as a co-operative (with each member having a say in the control of the IPS plus a share in the profits/losses) or as a company benefiting the wider community (in which case it may be eligible to apply for charitable status).




The resources that contribute to a programme or activity including income, staff, volunteers and equipment.




An interface is a strategic, operational structure connecting and promoting common interests of agencies/bodies/partnerships working together. In Scotland, there are 32 Third Sector Interface connecting the work of  Volunteer Centres, Councils for Voluntary Service, Local Social Economy Partnerships and Community Planning Partnerships in each local authority area.


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Job Descriptions


A written description of the duties and responsibilities of a post.


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A structured focus on addressing geographically defined interests and requirements.


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Match Funding


Money given on the condition that other funds (of equal or greater amount) are raised to make up the overall project total.   Match funding can be your group’s own funds, other grants or earned income.  It can also take into account funding ‘in kind’ such as volunteers’ time.




Forms of communication that reach and influence people including T.V, radio, newspapers, magazines etc.




Stages into which projects are divided in order to monitor and evaluate progress.




Minutes are the record of a meeting, documenting attendance, agreements reached, decisions made and actions to be taken. For those that were present at the meeting, minutes offer a record of who agreed to do what. They also  serve to inform those not present, what happened at the meeting.




Ongoing supervision of activities and progress to ensure project is on schedule in meeting targets and objectives. Specific monitoring information is often required by funders.


Mission statement


A statement describing the purpose of a group; who it is and why it exists.


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Needs Assessment


A needs assessment (also called a needs analysis) is a process used to identify 'gaps' between where things are at now (current performance or conditions) and where you want them to be (desired performance or conditions). Needs assessments are often used for improvement in individuals in relation to education or training, but a similar process can be used by community groups or organizations.


Not for Profit


Describes an organisation that has been established to reinvest any financial surpluses back into achieving the objectives of the organisation. Often used when referring to the voluntary or community sector.


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End to be achieved, can be broken into goals.




The Office of the Scottish Charity Register (OSCR)  are the regulatory body for Scottish charities. They are responsible for the registering of new charities, and monitor and ensure compliance with all aspects of The Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005.




Outcomes are the results of what you do – the changes, benefits or other effects that your project, activities or services makes. Outcomes are best described using words that show the difference your activities or project has made, such as: more, better, less, improved. In some cases, the outcome will be that a situation is kept stable, or that your project has stopped things from getting worse.




Outputs are specific services and products you offer to carry out your objectives.  They are literally what you “put out” as a result of your activity. As part of monitoring and evaluation, your outputs need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant/realistic and time-bound (SMART) and related closely to your objectives.


Overhead Costs


Central or core costs relating to ongoing expenditure such as rent, electricity or gas bills, telephone, broadband, staff salaries etc. 

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Performance Management


The procedures within an organisation to take action in response to performance.  Often used to evaluate success of a project. 


Personal Data


Defined in the Data Protection Act as “data which relates to a living individual who can be identified from those data; or from those data and other information which is in the possession of, or is likely to come into the possession of, the data controller and includes any expression of opinion about the individual and any indication of the intentions of the data controller or any other person in respect of the individual”.


Person Specification


Skills and attributes a person needs in order to carry out a job or specific series of tasks.


Press Releases


A public relations (PR) statement given to the media with the intention of  informing the public of specific news, activities, events or developments in your organisation.


Private Sector


Collective term referring to commercial businesses.




The term ‘procurement’ refers to the process of acquiring goods and services - the process which any customer goes through to buy something. For community groups the term procurement specifically refers to the purchasing of Third Sector services by local government through competitive tendering for contracts.




A piece of work with time and resource limits, working towards pre-defined aims and objectives.


Project Management


Good project management translates business plans into reality bringing them in on budget and on time, and within allocated resources.


Project Plan


A project plan describes the different elements of a project, including its purpose, goals and objectives, and the cost of putting them into practice.




Promotion is all about getting the word out’ about your group or project, informing people, making sure that as many as possible know what you do. This not only ensures that you are involving people, but it also encourages their support. Also called marketing.


Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme


 Implementing the provisions outlined in the Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act 2007, the Scottish Government's Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme is a registration system for all those who work (paid and unpaid) with children and protected adults in Scotland. The Scheme is designed to help ensure that those who have regular working contact with either children or protected adults, do not have a history of harmful behaviour.


Public Liability


Public liability is based on the law of tort, and focuses on civil wrongs.  It might typically involve a situation in which a member of the public is hurt, or damage is caused to their property, by a group/organisation or company's actions or products. The degree of public liability varies depending on individual circumstance.


Public Sector


Collective term for Government and government agencies including Local Authorities, Police, NHS, Scottish Natural Heritage.  


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Quality Assurance


Quality Assurance describes the procedures an organisation puts in place to systematically monitor and evaluate processes, to ensure quality of its products or services.


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Receipts and Payments


Income and Expenditure accounts, commonly called receipts and payments by OSCR (Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator).  They are the simplest format for annual accounts.




The recruitment process for staff (paid or volunteer) begins with thinking about the job that needs to be covered, the duties this will entail and the type of skills and experience that will be needed to fulfill these. Recruitment includes advertising the post, receiving and shortlisting applications and interviewing candidates.




A catch-all term which refers broadly to physical, economic and social renewal of a community.


Regulated work


The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme applies to people who work with children and/or protected adults, on a paid or volunteer basis, in what is referred to as 'regulated work'.  For an activity (or work) to be considered ‘regulated work’, the carrying out of the activity (or work) must be part of the individual's normal duties - something an individual does as part of their post on an ongoing basis. Some work activities with children or protected adults are excluded from being considered as ‘regulated work’. This would commonly be if the activity (or work) is incidental to an employee or volunteers normal work, or if the individuals they are working with do not fall under the ‘protected’ characteristics of The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (Scotland) Act. 

It will be up to your group or organisation to decide if an employee or volunteer is doing ‘regulated work’ as part of their normal duties.


Restricted Funding


Restricted funding usually refers to project grants where the funder has particularly specified what the money is to be spent on. 


Revenue Costs


Costs incurred in the day-to-day running of an organisation and its projects. Can be overheads or direct project costs, and include items such as stationery, rent, heat and lighting, phone bills and materials.


Risk Assessment


A Risk Assessment identifies any potential hazards or thing that could cause harm to people working at your premises (or to the public accessing your services or taking part in your activities). Once the risks are identified, you can put in place measures to minimise and control those risks to secure a healthy safe environment.


Rolling Review


An assessment being carried out by the Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR), of charities on the Scottish Charity Register who were granted charitable status prior to the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 to check that they meet, and continue to meet the two-part Charity Test.


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Scheme Records


Scheme records held as part of The Protection of Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Scheme give details of individuals with court convictions that make them unsuitable to carry out ‘regulated work’ with either children or ‘protected’ adults (or both). Access to the information held on these records can only be through a group/organisation or body that is enrolled within the PVG Scheme.   


Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO)



A Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisations (SCIO) is a legal (incorporated) structure exclusive to groups with registered charitable status in Scotland.  To be eligible to apply to be a SCIO your group must have charitable purposes and deliver activities which provide community benefit.  

Single Outcome Agreement(s)


A national performance framework focusing on how key targets will be achieved.  The Scottish Government has set out national outcomes covering areas such as education, services for the young and older people, health and community safety.  Each local authority area of Scotland has agreed to draw up a SOA setting out how they will contribute to achieving these.


Social Audit


Social accounting and audit is a monitoring and evaluation process undertaken internally by organisations and social enterprises enabling them to account for the social, environmental and economic impacts their activities are making, report on performance and draw up an action plan to improve on that performance.


Social Economy


Social economy refers to economic activity in the community/voluntary/third sector and includes the work of cooperatives, not-for-profit organizations, charities and social enterprise. Third sector organizations are often able to offer new and innovative solutions to issues (social, economic  or environmental) that respond  to community needs not met by either the private (business) or public (government) sectors.


Social Enterprise


The term ‘social enterprise’ refers to a means of operating - a business model – rather than an actual legal structure. Third Sector organisations that choose this model for trading are often referred to as social enterprises, specifically when over 50% of their income is generated from trading specifically for social and/or environmental purposes.  


Social Firm


A type of social enterprise, a social firm is business set up specifically to create employment for disadvantaged people.


 Social Impact 


The effects on people, groups of people, communities, and entities that happen as a result of an action, activity, project, programme or policy. Social Impact focuses on results (outcomes) and not processes (inputs/outputs).


Social Media


Forms of media that enable social interaction.


Social Return on Investment (SROI)



Social Return on Investment (SROI) is a way of measuring change (social impact) in ways that are relevant to the people that experience or contribute to that change. It is a very valuable tool for groups in identifying areas for improvement and resource allocation, and a vital means of identifying and communicating the impact that the group’s activities or services are creating for stakeholders.




In the third sector this can refer to paid or unpaid employees (volunteers).




An individual or organisation that has an active interest (a stake) in a particular organisation or issue.  Examples might include:- your group's members and service users; funders; contractors; purchasers; trustees; beneficiaries; donors; volunteers and paid staff. 


Steering Group


Stakeholders that give guidance on strategic direction of organisation.  Often the initial group of people involved in setting up a voluntary organisation.


Sub Groups or Sub Committees


A sub group (or sub-committee) can be set up by your group or organisations committee or board to develop and/or manage a specific project or activity. The main committee or board will remain in control but a sub committee can be a good way of delegating tasks for a particular purpose.


Sustainable Development


Sustainable development is about making sure that people can satisfy their basic needs now, while making sure that future generations can also look forward to the same quality of life. Sustainable development recognises that the economy, society and the environment are interconnected. 


SWOT analysis


A method for assessing strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, a SWOT analysis gives essential insight into critical issues that can affect your organisation or project. 


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Tax Relief


Tax exemptions and reliefs on income, gains and trading profits are available to registered charities and community sports groups. 




A defined level of achievement which a project or organisation sets itself to achieve in a specific period of time.


Third Sector


The Third Sector – also sometimes referred to as the Voluntary Sector or Community Sector - is the collective term used to refer to groups or organisations that operate on a not-for-profit or community benefit basis. The term distinguishes these groups and organisations from profit-making businesses (the Private or Business Sector) and Government departments or local authorities (Public Sector).


Third Sector Interface (TSI)


In Scotland, Third Sector Interface (TSI) are community development/volunteer support agencies – either single organizations or partnerships comprising Volunteer Centres; Council for Voluntary Service and Social Enterprise Networks. Their core functions (defined and agreed by Scottish Government) are to support voluntary organisations in their local area; promote and support volunteering; develop and support social enterprise; and connect the third sector to community planning.




The buying and selling of goods or services.




If your group or organisation is a registered charity, your board or committee members are the charity’s Trustees. In Scotland, under current charity law the definition of a Charity Trustee is anyone who has general control and management of the administration of the charity; anyone who exercises significant influence or control on the charity and has an input into decision-making. All Charity Trustees have a responsibility to take care of the charity's affairs, act as guardians of the charity's assets and safeguard the charity's reputation. They have clearly defined legal duties and responsibilities.


Trustee Indemnity Insurance


Trustee Indemnity Insurance, sometimes available as part of Professional Liability Insurance or other insurance packages, offers trustees some cover for damages and legal expenses for which they are legally liable as a result of a 'wrongful act' such as breach of confidentiality, copyright, accidental or unintended breaches of trust.




A Trust or unincorporated Charitable Trust is a simple structure consisting of a collection of individuals who have come together with shared charitable aims or purposes – commonly relating to the protection and management of money or property. Not to be confused with Development Trusts which are usually incorporated organisations run as social enterprise managing community assets.

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Unincorporated Association


An Unincorporated Association is a simple democratic structure consisting of a collection of individuals who have come together with a shared aim or purpose.  A committee is usually elected to run the organisation on behalf of the members.


Unrestricted Funding


Unrestricted funds include core grants where the funder has not specified any restrictions on what the money should be spent on, other than furthering the aims of the organisation. Unrestricted income is usually set against core costs or running costs (as long as these are not associated with particular projects where the funder has specified a ‘restricted’ purpose). 

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Giving of time, effort and talent to meet a need or further a cause, without payment. 


Volunteer policy


A formal note of your organisation's procedures, forming the basis of your volunteer programme and underpinning all your operations that include or affect volunteers.


Voluntary Sector


See Third Sector


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Last Updated 27/11/2013 15:51