3. Getting started
3.1. This guidance focuses on the procedures which relevant authorities are required to carry out under the asset transfer legislation. However, for asset transfer to be successful, there also needs to be a wider context of partnership with and support for community bodies and community-led activity. This aligns with the approach which is encouraged throughout public services in Scotland, and should build on existing relationships.
3.2. COSS provides extensive advice for relevant authorities on the benefits of asset transfer and how to prepare and work with community bodies: http://www.dtascommunityownership.org.uk/public-bodies. The following provides some brief pointers.
3.3. Community transfer bodies are encouraged to discuss their ideas with the relevant authority at an early stage. This may be when they have identified an asset they are interested in, or to discuss their ideas and needs and see whether any suitable assets are available. Relevant authorities should be open to such approaches and ready to direct community transfer bodies to sources of support if needed.
3.4. It is important that community transfer bodies can easily identify who to contact about asset transfer, and that all relevant staff know how to direct any enquiries, or requests. The legislation does not require a single point of contact to be identified, but it should be clear who is responsible, whether it is a central team or a named official for each region, for example.
3.5. In discussions with community transfer bodies, officials should be clear about the asset transfer request process and should, for example, avoid making commitments or assumptions about the outcome of any potential request. Information about the criteria and procedures used by the authority should be made available to help community bodies develop their requests.
Assets and services
3.6. Sometimes a community transfer body may wish to take over a building or land and the services which are delivered by the relevant authority from those premises. This could be addressed by an asset transfer request, or a participation request in relation to improving the outcome of the services. We do not recommend using both types of request for the same project.
- If the community body wants to take over running a service which is tied to the particular premises, and does not want to use the premises for any other purpose, this should be addressed through a participation request. Usually this would apply to services which will be delivered under a contract or agreement with the relevant authority. A lease or other arrangement in relation to the premises can be negotiated as part of the agreement to provide the service.
- If the community body wants to take control of the asset in order to deliver services on its own terms or use the property for other purposes, this should normally be addressed through an asset transfer request.
- An asset transfer request can be accompanied by negotiations for the public authority to contract with the community body to continue to provide a service, as a source of income.