1.1 This report presents an analysis of responses to the Scottish Government's public consultation on the Draft Regulations of Delivering Improved Transparency of Land Ownership in Scotland.
1.2 In recent years the Scottish Government has focused on reforming the use, ownership and management of land in Scotland. Opportunities for change have been identified in relation to sustainable development, community empowerment, regeneration, environmental management and housing. Policy makers have concluded that a lack of transparency about ownership and decision making about land is a barrier to dialogue and progress for owners, communities and wider society.
1.3 The Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2016 is a key part of the Scottish Government's commitment to achieving transparency. Part 3, Section 39 of The Act, states that a new Register of Persons Holding a Controlled Interest (RCI) in Land will be introduced to identify and make information accessible about those who own and control land in Scotland. Under current plans, the Registers of Scotland will be responsible for holding and maintaining the new Register, which will include details of those who: own or tenant land subject to contractual or other arrangements with an individual; partnerships and persons who own or tenant land on their behalf; trusts and persons who own or tenant land as trustees of a trust; unincorporated bodies and persons who own or tenant land on their behalf; and, overseas legal entities.
1.4 Earlier this year the Scottish Government developed draft regulations for the proposed Register and put these out to consultation. The consultation on the draft regulations ran for five months (20th June: 8th November 2018). It achieved nineteen responses from a range of interested parties including an individual, public and third sector organisations, businesses and representative bodies. The consultation document contained twenty-nine open-ended questions which centred around three themes:
- Outcomes (will the Register deliver improved transparency in land ownership?)
- Categorisation of land owners and tenants (who the regulations will apply to and responses to the suggested approaches being proposed for different parties) and
- Accessibility (how to ensure the Register is easy to use and that information is accessible).
Profile of participants and consultation response rate
1.5 The consultation achieved nineteen responses from eighteen organisations and one individual. The organisations varied in nature and included: ten membership organisations representing a range of stakeholders, such as community land groups and those with specific property interests; six law firms; a Non-Departmental Public Body (Historic Environment Scotland); and the Scottish Charity Regulator (OSCR).
1.6 Responses to the discussion were submitted or uploaded to the online platform Citizen Space. Participants were asked to submit a Respondent Information Form (RIF) to establish their identity, contact details and publication preferences.
Analysis and reporting
1.7 A coding framework based on a review of the consultation questions and sample of responses was developed. Qualitative data (responses to open questions) was coded manually according to specific themes; quantitative data was analysed with Excel.
1.8 While qualitative analysis of open-ended questions does not permit the quantification of results, we describe the number of participants who have expressed a particular view throughout the document.
1.9 The Lines Between was commissioned 'to produce a clear and concise report for publication, that reflects a robust analysis of the responses'. This report presents the findings of the consultation analysis:
- Chapter two presents the number of responses to each question.
- Chapter three provides analysis of responses to 'the Functioning of the Register' (consultation questions one to eleven).
- Chapter four presents analysis of responses to 'Who we will be Registering: Schedule 1' (consultation questions twelve to twenty-four).
- Chapter five presents analysis of responses to 'Who we will be Registering: Schedule 2' and the 'User Experience' (consultation questions twenty-five to twenty-nine).
- The final chapter contains conclusions.
1.10 Participants' responses to the consultation, where permissions for publication were granted, can be found on the Scottish Government's website at https://consult.gov.scot/land-reform-and-tenancy-unit/transparency-in-land-ownership/.