The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act enables requests to the local authority from community organisations / groups to acquire, lease or take over management of a publicly owned building or land. This request is known under the Act as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).
To be eligible to apply for a CAT organisations need to meet the following criteria
- Be a community controlled body with a minimum membership of 20 people
- Members of the controlled body must be defined as a community which can be a community of interest or community of place
- A Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO) with a constitution or a community based benefit society or a company limited by guarantee
- Be able to provide details/evidence of demand for the services the organisation will deliver
The organisation must:
- Identify who owns the property
- Consult with the community that they support your application
- Research similar projects that could either support or compete with your initiative
- Identify potential partners, and stakeholders including funding opportunities
- Involve current and prospective funders early in the process. Engage with them to gain their views, as well as keeping them informed
- Be realistic about timescales, be aware that negotiations and approvals can take time
- At an early stage, hold an initial negotiation meeting. This will ensure that the proposal is workable
- Scrutinise all documents to make sure you understand the content. Is the agreed ‘deal’ clear to all
- Ask if you do not understand something, don’t just sign on the dotted line
- Keep your community informed about your proposal and its progress
Documentation relating to community asset transfer can be found below.
Use of Conditions to Protect the Discount
Local Authorities are required to obtain best value when disposing of their assets. If you have requested a discount the Council is likely to seek to protect itself against the risk that the proposed benefits are not delivered. The Council will narrate any terms and conditions of the transfer in the Decision Notice. Terms and conditions are required to be appropriate and proportionate and include, for example:
- A requirement to re-pay the discount if the benefits are not delivered or the asset is sold;
- The asset maybe recovered by the Council if it is not used for the benefit described or your organisation is wound up;
Please note that some funders (for example, Scottish Land Fund) insist that any clawback period (i.e. the Council’s The protection period) be limited to a 5-year maximum. Please discuss your proposed discount early on with the Council as it is unlikely we will be able to approve large discounts if protection is limited in this way.
The trigger for these protective measures is if the project fails, the organisation is wound up, the organisation seeks to dispose of the asset or use the asset for another purpose.
The legal mechanisms the Council may use are a standard security on the property (for a limited duration until the benefits are delivered), title conditions as to the use of the asset or a minute of agreement.
A funder may also require similar terms and conditions, so there may need to be a ranking agreement.
The Council will work with the organisation to ensure the terms and conditions do not conflict with any charity requirements and are proportionate to the level of discount.
You will need to describe the support you have for your proposal from the community defined in your constitution. The Council needs to know you have engaged with the community as a whole, not just your members and service users. You need to consult on the requirement for the services, use of that particular asset and why you require that asset for delivery of your services. If services are already being delivered from that asset please consult on displacement of those services.
There are many ways to consult and you can obtain advice and guidance from Fife Voluntary Action and Community Ownership Scotland
Asset Transfer Requests & Documentation: The Applications, Decision Notices and Public Notices can be found by Council area below.
|Fife Council Assets Transferred under the Community Empowerment Act|
|Former Library, Kelty||Kingdom Brass (March 2019)|
|Gallatown Bowling Club, Kirkcaldy||Kirkcaldy YMCA - (July 2019)|
|Crail Community Hall||Crail Community Partnership (February 2021)|
|St David’s Centre, St Andrews||NEF Community Hub (March 2021)|
|Pinkerton Triangle, Crail||Crail Community Partnership (March 2021)|
|Land at Bow Butts Road, Crail||Crail Community Partnership (March 2021)|
|Earlsferry Town Hall, Earlsferry||Earlsferry Town Hall Ltd (March 2021)|
|Kilminning Nature Reserve, Crail||Crail Community Partnership (May 2021)|
|East Shore Park, Newburgh||Newburgh Community Partnership|
For further information, please contact:
Telephone - 03451 555 555 ext. 441242 or 01592 583346