What is common good property?
Assets held for the common good are owned by local authorities, having been passed down from former burghs following local government re-organisation. Local authorities must manage these assets in accordance with existing statutory and non-statutory duties.
The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 and common good property
Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 [CEA] places new duties on local authorities in relation to common good property. The intention is to increase transparency about the existence of common good assets and increase community involvement in decisions about the identification, use and disposal of them.
Section 102 places a duty on local authorities to “establish and maintain a register of property which is held by the authority as part of the common good” and sets out the ways in which local authorities must engage and consult with their local communities in setting up these registers.
- Disposal and use of common good property
Section 104 sets out the consultation process for when a local authority is considering disposing or changing the use of a piece of common good property.
Sections 102 and 104 of the CEA have not yet been brought into force.
Scottish Government guidance
Sections 103 and 105 of the CEA specify that local authorities “must have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers” in terms of the process of creating common good registers, the process of disposing and changing the use of common good property, and the management and use of common good property. The guidance will cover a range of issues including time limits for the preparation and publication of common good registers.
The Scottish Government plans to issue draft guidance for consultation following the 2017 local government elections. This guidance will be put out to consultation for twelve weeks to allow local authorities and community organisations to consider it. It is envisaged that the final version of the guidance will be published when Sections 102 and 104 of the CEA are brought into force.