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.

8 Additional Comments

8.1 The following outline a range of further comments that were made during the consultation but that do not particularly match the questions asked. Several relate to calls for additions to the guidance or further clarifications that are felt to be required.

  • A view was expressed that there should be clear guidance on the expectations of the extent of the register and the onus on local authorities to make it as complete as possible, although with a balance to be had between thoroughness and getting a register published.
  • There was a call for clear guidelines on the level of evidence expected for adding an asset to the register.
  • Museums Galleries Scotland ( MGS) suggests that communities are provided with information on items that are not considered to be Common Good as well as those that do make it onto the register to allow for consideration of what has been excluded as well as included.
  • MGS also raised a concern that some museum collections could be regarded as Common Good assets due to the nature of their acquisition and could potentially lead to undue burden being placed on museums in fulfilling the duties under the Act. The concern was primarily about ensuring there was clear acknowledgement of the scale of the task of assessing collections re Common Good status and a desire that the guidance be more explicit about the ‘live’ nature of the register, and that it provides more explicit guidance for museum professionals.
  • It was suggested that the guidance include how moveable property and cash funds should be accounted for and dealt with in terms of the register – i.e. information to be presented and how to consult on such items. Indeed it was questioned whether the register should include moveable property at all and perhaps should be restricted to land and property, with discretion on how to deal with moveable items residing with Councils who have legal and ethical duties that should sufficiently protect these types of assets.
  • Development Trusts Association Scotland ( DTAS) welcomed the guidance but suggest it should cover more than just procedural issues and provide some direction on the management and use of Common Good property more widely. They would like to see more clarification in this guidance on the law surrounding Common Good property, particularly with regard to what can and cannot be done with it to encourage appropriate use of assets and clarity around the issue of alienable and inalienable assets.
  • DTAS also comments that they think greater clarity is required in the guidance about the time by which local authorities are expected to publish their registers.

8.2 Further comments were made in relation to other commitments sought and further aspects of procedure that should be put in place.

  • It was suggested that, where an item is not placed on the Common Good register, there should be a period of six months before the local authority can dispose of it to allow for thorough research of provenance.
  • Museums Galleries Scotland ( MGS) would welcome a commitment by the Scottish Government to put a review process in place around the establishment of Common Good registers to assess how consistently the guidance is being applied across local authorities and identify any potential improvements that could be made. It is suggested that an initial review take place after a period of five years.
  • MGS also suggest that the Scottish Government should commit additional resources to establish an online portal or database to facilitate quality and consistent records management processes and systems being put in place as a result of the duty to create a Common Good register.

8.3 Finally, MGS raised the concern about the costs over an extended period of time for local authorities to resource research of the full extent of a Council’s Common Good property, in line with several comments made by others throughout the consultation. However, they also suggest there is an opportunity to work with citizens to develop a citizen research programme which could help address some of the resourcing issues.


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