GOVERNANCE and policies

The Scottish Policy Foundation is independent, apolitical, and concerned only with promoting good governance in Scotland. The following checks ensure the maintenance of integrity:

  1. Ethos. The ethos of the organisation is to promote diverse, well researched and honestly held policy ideas to inform the public debate.
  2. Local. Grants are only made to projects researching policy areas within the current or proposed vires of the Scottish Government. In particular, funding is not used to inform the constitutional debate, or to support policies within the UK Government. 
  3. Charitable status. SPF is a registered charity, subject to the regulation of the Scottish Charity Regulator. We are only able to fund organisations that are themselves charities, or that have charitable purposes.
  4. Competition. Where possible, grants are made to more than one organisation researching in the same area, with the objective of creating informed debate on that subject.
  5. External funding. In order to ensure there is broad interest in the project, grants cover no more than 50% of the cost of any single project.
  6. Trustees and Council. The Foundation is governed by a board of Trustees, who are responsible for ensuring adherence to its charitable objectives. The Trustees are supported by an Advisory Council, whose membership reflects a wide spectrum of opinions with an established interest in policy formulation. 
  7. Costs. The Foundation aims to act as a catalyst, minimising its own costs.

data protection policy

It is necessary for the Scottish Policy Foundation to keep and process information provided to us by applicants in order for us to make full assessments of applications for funding. We retain contact information on our supporters for the purposes of communication, and we also use data to review our grant-making procedures.

The Scottish Policy Foundation takes the protection of data very seriously. We comply with the General Data Protection Regulation (EU) 2016/679 effective from 25 May 2018. The Data Controller for the Scottish Policy Foundation is the Director. Data is not kept for longer than is necessary and, in the case of unsuccessful applicants, will be deleted after 3 years.

The data that we request from applicants is confined only to that which is required to enable us as a grant-making Foundation to assess fully and communicate effectively with applicant organisations. This is the lawful basis on which we collect this data. The data that we request includes contact information, details of the proposed project, and audited accounts for the organisation. This data is stored securely and is not transferred onwards.

If an organisation is successful in their application, we will then require bank account details of the organisation in order to arrange interim and final grant payments to be made. These bank account details are kept securely in an electronic form and access to this data is limited to the Data Controller and Trustees.

Applicants are deemed to have consented for us to use the data they have provided in their applications to us when considering these applications. Grant-holders are requested to provide their consent to the use of their data in the Terms and Conditions for Grant-Holders document, which they will be asked to sign.

Organisations and individuals have the right to request access to the data that we hold on them, which should be done under a “subject access request”.

 We may from time to time send out electronically news releases or email newsletters through Mailchimp which are designed to keep applicants and suppporters informed of our work, including information relating to future funding rounds, our current priorities and ongoing projects. Individuals and organisations can unsubscribe from these updates by letting the Data Controller know at any time.


complaints policy

The Scottish Policy Foundation welcomes feedback on our processes and the services we provide. We are registered as a charity with OSCR (charity number SC047290) and we adhere to all relevant regulatory rules and legislation. We strive to be transparent, clear, courteous and timely in our dealings with applicants and grant-holders. If you believe we have fallen short of this, you are entitled to make a complaint. The making of a complaint will not affect your chances of receiving a grant.

Please note, however, that our complaints procedure is not an appeals procedure. Advisory Council members make recommendations to the Trustees on grant applications, and the Trustees have the final decision. It is inevitable that some organisations will have applications rejected, but all applications will be considered carefully.

Your complaint will go before a panel consisting of the two Trustees and two members of the Advisory Council. It will be looked at in detail, and a response will be sent out to you. The response – which may include steps to be taken to put things right – will be final. All complaints will be treated confidentially.



conflicts of interest policy

The Scottish Policy Foundation adheres to all regulatory rules and legislation. We have a duty to avoid situations where there may be a potential conflict of interest. This could arise where an individual’s personal or family interests or loyalties may conflict with those of the Foundation, which could lead to a sense of impropriety.

Trustees, Advisory Council members, the Director and any other members of staff must disclose any conflicts of interest, political or other, and must declare any interests which they have, or acquire, that might reasonably be thought to jeopardise independence and neutrality. Trustees, Advisory Council members, the Director and any other members of staff must restrict the use of special knowledge gained through the Foundation’s activities only for the benefit of the Foundation and never to further personal or other interests.

This Declaration of Interests will be updated annually, or more frequently if there is a material change. If a conflict is presented, the person concerned will not be involved in any discussion, decision or situation that may put them in an untenable position. Any payments, or benefits in kind, or any other connections will be reported in the Foundation’s Annual Report and Accounts.