11. Regulation 4(2) sets out purposes in pursuance of which a decision by a local authority that it is appropriate to dispose of land at less than best consideration that can reasonably be obtained might be justified. The Regulations require that local authorities, before deciding in favour of such disposal, appraise and compare the costs and other disbenefits and benefits of the proposal. In so doing local authorities should undertake an assessment of the proposed disposal taking into account all relevant factors, all available options and all relevant information. It is recommended that local authorities demonstrate that there has been a rigorous evaluation, supported by evidence that makes clear how they have reached their decision.
12. Local authorities are, of course, required to fulfil their statutory duties under Best Value as set out in the Local Government in Scotland Act 2003. The Land Disposal regulations are consistent with this duty to secure Best Value, and relevant aspects of this duty include:
- Making the best use of public resources, including land and property;
- Being open and transparent in transactions;
- Ensuring sound financial controls are in place to minimise the risk of fraud or error;
- Assessing the full financial consequences of decisions at an appropriate level before major financial decisions are taken or commitments entered into;
- Demonstrating responsiveness to the needs of communities, citizens, customers and other stakeholders, where relevant.
13. All local authorities should have arrangements in place, including schemes of delegation where appropriate, to deal with disposals of land at less than best consideration.
14. Local authorities are expected to be open, transparent and fair in all of their transactions. For example should the local authority hold an open competition for land where they would accept a lower offer for a 'social use', the expectation is that the authority have made reasonable efforts to let potentially interested parties know.
15. Annex C of this guidance provides an example of the criteria local authorities might wish to draw on when assessing a proposed disposal.