Information

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 - asset transfers: social value guidance

Guidance on social value for the relevant authorities when they are considering asset transfer applications, and should be considered as one part of their overall decision making process.


12. Partnership Support: Collaboration and Monitoring

12.1 Once an asset transfer is agreed in principle with a community transfer body, it would be helpful for the relevant authority to begin working with funders at the earliest opportunity. Working collaboratively with funders early in the process can help with agreeing the final detail of the transfer and lead to a consensual offer with buy in from all parties.

12.2 It will often be helpful for the relevant authority to work directly with funders to agree a balance of legal mechanisms to secure the interests of all those involved. There can be misunderstandings about the requirements of different organisations which are often best clarified by making direct contact. While these discussions are likely to take place between lawyers, community bodies should be reassured that the aim is to produce a better result for them, with fewer overlapping conditions.

12.3 Where any mechanism is put in place, by a relevant authority or a funding organisation, to ensure that benefits are delivered or property is used for a particular purpose, monitoring of those requirements is also essential. If difficulties arise with a project, support may also be necessary to help the community body get back on track.

12.4 Where there are several organisations with similar interests, it may be possible to establish an agreement whereby one partner undertakes monitoring on behalf of all, providing other partners with sufficient confidence to reduce the need to impose multiple protective mechanisms. This would also benefit the community body, in reducing duplication of monitoring.

12.5 In most asset transfer cases, there will be other organisations providing funding to the project in addition to any concession given by the relevant authority. Like relevant authorities, funders have a responsibility to ensure that their grants are used effectively and in accordance with the purpose for which they are granted, and they seek to secure this through a range of legal agreements. Where there are multiple contributors each requiring security for their investment then there is likely to be the need for a ranking agreement so that each party understands its position should the project fail, recognising that such a position may not enable each party to recover in full what it has funded.

12.6 Office of the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR) has confirmed that protective mechanisms as described above do not conflict with the requirements for charities. The charity's trustees would need to be satisfied that the arrangements were in the best interests of the charity before agreeing to them. However, on winding up, such arrangements would be dealt with as liabilities or contractual obligations to be settled before any remaining assets are distributed for charitable purposes.

12.7 If the relevant authority has a long-term interest in retaining the property, or does not have the power to sell it, a lease may be appropriate. Long leases (which can be up to 175 years in Scots law) are common for commercial property and may be appropriate for community bodies in such cases. Shorter leases may also be appropriate for a community body that wants to develop its capacity before taking on the responsibilities of ownership. However, relevant authorities should keep in mind the Scottish Government's ambition to increase community ownership, and the fact that key funding programmes may not provide grants for leasing.

Contact

Email: Community.Empowerment@gov.scot

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