Consultation on common good property guidance: analysis of responses

Report on of responses to our consultation on fulfilling part eight of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

1 Introduction

1.1 This report presents the findings of an analysis of written responses to a Scottish Government consultation on statutory guidance for local authorities on how to fulfil the requirements of Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 in relation to Common Good property. The consultation was published on 30 June 2017 and ran until 29 September 2017. [3]

1.2 Common Good property is owned by local authorities and has been passed down, through local government reorganisation, from former burghs. Those burghs would have received it as a gift or purchased it. It includes land and buildings, moveable items such as furniture, art and cash funds. There may be restrictions on how certain items of Common Good property are allowed to be used, and whether the local authority can dispose of them. In some cases this has to be decided by the courts. It is also worth noting that, due to the time which has passed, it is sometimes difficult to know whether property forms part of the Common Good.

1.3 Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 places new duties on local authorities in relation to Common Good property. The consultation was in relation to the statutory guidance related to these processes and asked for views on issues such as timescales, information about assets, local consultation and publicising proposals.

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.”

Section 104 places a duty on local authorities “Before taking any decision to dispose of, or change the use of, such [Common Good] property the local authority must publish details about the proposed disposal or, as the case may be, the use to which the authority proposes to put the property.”

Sections 103 and 105 require local authorities “to have regard to any guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers” in relation to these duties.

1.4 Part 8 does not define or redefine Common Good or remove or alter any restrictions on the use or disposal of Common Good property.

1.5 The consultation contained 12 main questions (with additional opportunities to provide explanations). The analysis was largely qualitative due to the nature of the questions and focussed on exploring the range of views of respondents.

1.6 The analysis in this report is based on the 44 responses submitted to the consultation. It is important to note that, given the self-selected nature of the respondents, the views presented here should not be seen as representative of the views of the wider population.

1.7 Most of the responses were submitted by organisational respondents (33); 11 were from individuals. Organisational respondents comprised 13 Community Councils, 12 local authorities and 8 other organisations. See Annex 1 for a complete list of respondents.


Back to top