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 4: Publishing the common good register

1. The local authority should aim to publish the first version of its common good register as soon as practicable after the initial twelve week consultation period has closed, and in any case, within six months of the end of the consultation.

Cases requiring further investigation

2. In cases where there have been numerous or complex representations, and the local authority is still carrying out investigations, a note should be added to the register making clear that some representations are still being followed up.

3. It is proposed that an annex is produced which lists all of the property still under investigation, along with an indication of when these investigations are likely to be concluded (an example of what this might look like is provided at Annex A). This will ensure transparency, while still allowing the local authority to properly investigate complex cases.

4. If there are numerous complex cases to be investigated and the local authority does not have the resources to follow them up immediately, there should be a clear timetable of when each case will be looked at. This will assist the local authority in managing workloads and will provide greater clarity to communities.

Access to the register

5. The public must be able to inspect the common good register free of charge, and the document must be available electronically.

6. Members of the public should be able to access the common good register from the local authority’s own website. The local authority should also ensure that members of the public can view the register in person at local council offices, council hubs and local libraries. The local authority should either produce paper copies of the register or ensure that staff in these locations are able to assist members of the public in viewing an electronic version.

7. Local authorities should be ready to make the common good register available in alternative languages and formats, if requested, to meet equality requirements.

Requirement to maintain and update the register

8. The common good register is a living document and the local authority is required to update its register if new property is identified or if existing property is disposed of or reclassified. Changes to the register for acquisitions and disposals must be made in the same financial year as the property is acquired or disposed. This will ensure the register and the common good accounts are aligned.

9. It is good practice for the local authority to review the register at regular intervals, to check that all details held for any property or income fund remain relevant and up to date. This could be a rolling review where a percentage of the register is reviewed each year. A review must, however, be carried out at intervals of no more than five years. The local authority should publish its review process.


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