4.1. Acquiring Authorities should seek to involve people in the decisions that affect them and ensure that they are consulted on proposals at relevant stages of the process. Including:
Before a decision to use compulsory purchase is taken, such as when exploring land acquisition options. This can help Authorities explore alternative solutions and allay any concerns about the compulsory purchase process, potentially saving time and money;
During the preparation of a CPO and while it is being considered by Scottish Ministers, as this can help those impacted by a potential compulsory purchase understand how a CPO may affect them; and
After an Order is confirmed keeping land owners informed and, while appropriate compensation and the transfer of ownership is agreed, supporting affected landowners and members of the community through this time.
4.2. As well as the people directly affected, the Acquiring Authority should engage with appropriate key agencies, community councils and community planning partners, as well as anyone with a wider interest in the development, such as utility providers, and neighbouring landowners where wider rights may be affected.
4.3. Early engagement will afford the Acquiring Authority an opportunity to establish whether developments are likely to give rise to protracted negotiations, and assist them in establishing whether there would be benefits in making a CPO in parallel with negotiations to purchase by agreement. This may be particularly relevant in larger schemes with multiple interests needing to be acquired.
4.4. In all cases Acquiring Authorities should provide clarity to affected landowners as early as possible in the process about what their rights are and what expenses (for example, reasonable professional fees for negotiating compensation) can be claimed and when. Where relevant, Authorities should provide clarity on the rates that will be applied and any limits they will seek to apply to expenses incurred.
4.5. The Acquiring Authority should keep a record of all engagement undertaken and all issues raised how it responded to these, and subsequent conclusions. This record should include records of telephone calls and face to face meetings, as well as formal written or email correspondence. This record can be later used as evidence to support any justification for compulsory purchase (see CPOGNAA/003).
4.6. Acquiring Authorities seeking to compulsory purchase land also have a legal duty to provide affected parties with information on their intentions and their rights, as well as how information gathered about them will be used.