Common good property: statutory guidance for local authorities

How local authorities should carry out the new legal duties imposed on them by Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

Chapter 2: Identifying and contacting community bodies

1. Section 102(4) states that once the list of property is published, the local authority must notify community councils and other community bodies so that these groups can consider the list and give their views (make representations).

Community councils

2. As statutory consultees, community councils have an important role to play in ensuring that local communities are aware of common good property in their area, and can contribute to the process of developing the common good register.

3. When notifying community councils about the publication of the list of common good property and the development of the common good register, the local authority should aim to use the same methods which already exist for involving community councils in other issues, in particular the planning process (where community councils are also statutory consultees).

Community bodies

4. The definition of “community bodies” given in section 106 of the Act is very broad and it may be difficult for the local authority to identify every individual group with a potential interest in a piece of common good property.

5. However, important considerations are:

  • Pre-1975 local authority areas – section 15 of The Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 provides that, in the case of the councils for Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh and Glasgow, regard should be given to the interests of all the inhabitants of their areas, and, in the case of other councils, to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good related prior to 16 May 1975.
  • Type of property – large and well-used assets, such as parks or public buildings, are likely to be of interest to the wider community and not just specific groups that use them regularly.

How to contact community bodies

6. Although it will be fairly straightforward to contact community councils, it may be less obvious how to contact smaller community groups – especially if they have no formal status. Local authorities should consider using a variety of methods to reach community bodies and they may find the revised National Standards for Community Engagement helpful when trying to connect with diverse groups of people from across the community.

7. As well as being consultees in their own right, community councils have a stock of local knowledge and may be able to give advice about other groups in the local area e.g. lunch clubs, sports groups or residents’ associations. Some community councils also have newsletters, websites and community noticeboards where they publicise things which are of interest to the local community.

8. Community planning partners and third sector organisations such as Voluntary Action Scotland or the Development Trust Association may be able to help identify relevant groups or networks in the local area. The Office of the Scottish Charities Regulator ( OSCR) can also provide information about registered charities.

9. Local authorities should be mindful that other networks, such as local business groups or regional heritage networks, may also have an interest in common good property.

10. Ultimately, each local authority will have a different set of circumstances so it is impossible to set out one way of contacting local community bodies. A local authority should use a variety of methods to publicise the consultation on the list of common good property and to engage local community groups.


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