National Asset Transfer Action Group minutes: August 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 4 August 2022.


Attendees and apologies

  • Kathleen Glazik (Chair) , Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Malcolm Cowie (Secretariat), Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Christopher Robb, Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Anya Kaufman, Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Neil Henderson, Statistician, Scottish Government
  • Martin McNicoll, Statistician, Scottish Government
  • Tracy Jackson, Community Wealth Building, Scottish Government
  • Rebecca Carr, Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Linda Gillespie, Community Ownership Support Service
  • Angus Hardie, Scottish Community Alliance
  • Tony Crosbie, Highland and Islands Enterprise
  • David Mitchell, Property Division, Scottish Government
  • Dave Thomson, Community Land, Scottish Government
  • Rebekah Dundas, Scottish Land Fund
  • Brian Paton, Edinburgh City Council
  • Helen Emery, NHS Highland
  • Jillian Matthew, Audit Scotland


  • Sandra Holmes, Highland and Islands Enterprise
  • Maureen Burgess, Fife Voluntary Action
  • Pauline Bradshaw, Glasgow City Council

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The chair welcomed everyone and introduced Christopher Robb, new policy adviser within the Community Empowerment Team as well as Anya Kaufman, who is a PhD intern working with Scottish Government for three months until October 2022. As part of her work Anya will be working on asset transfer data analysis for the review of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. The chair also introduced Tony Crosbie, Highlands and Islands Enterprise, who is attending on behalf of Sandra Holmes.

Apologies were noted.

Minute of last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting held on 3 December 2021 were agreed and have been published on the National Asset Transfer Action Group

Updates since last meeting

The chair updated the group on changes to our Scottish Government team structure. The Community Empowerment Team now sits in the newly created Directorate for Covid Recovery and Public Sector Reform, led by Mary McAllan as Director.

Action: directorate organisational chart to be sent to group by Malcolm

The review of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 was launched by Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning, and Community Wealth on 21 July 2022 at the Glenurquhart Rural Community Association (GURCA) Loch Ness Hub. GURCA took ownership of the Hub in 2018 using an asset transfer and have since transformed this into a vibrant local business employing 5 people that includes a green transport business. More information on GURCA can be found here: Glenurquhart Rural Community Association 

Martin McNicoll highlighted the latest Community Ownership in Scotland publication (27 September 2022) which provides summary statistics for community ownership in Scotland in 2021. The Community Ownership in Scotland publication will inform the National Indicator on Community Ownership in Scotland.

Forestry and Land Scotland ran a consultation on their draft communities strategy they are developing. This 12 week consultation concluded on 23 August 2022 and further information on the strategy can be accessed here: Communities - Forestry and Land Scotland

Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) have developed new modules on Community Right to Buy for Relevant Authorities. Information can be accessed here: COSS Introduction to Community Right to Buy

Presentation: annual reporting data 2021 to 2022

The Community Empowerment team presented data from the latest relevant authority annual reporting period which covers April 2021 to March 2022. The team has been encouraging authorities to complete the reporting template and return it to them to help improve reporting compliance and to also understand the data better.

Reporting compliance remains low, and in the latest round of reporting 54% of relevant authorities have either completed and returned the template, or posted their data on a website - this is compared to 61% who reported in 2020/21. As of August 2022, figures collated show 51 out of the 95 relevant authorities have reported their asset transfer activity for 2021 to 2022. This figure is expected to rise slightly with late reporting authorities.   

22 out of 32 local authorities have reported their asset transfer activity for 2021 to 2022; 12 out of 22 Health Boards (including special boards) have reported; and 2 of 16 further education colleges had reported their activity. Work will be carried out by the Community Empowerment Team to analyse these figures, and a further breakdown of data will be posted on the Scottish Government website in the early new year.  Data on asset transfer activity will be provided separately.

The reporting template issued to relevant authorities for 2021 to 2022 included an extra section to capture views on the review of Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. Questions asked were:

  • has the legislation made things easier or more difficult to access? where can things be further improved and what needs to change?
  • are you aware of what support is available to you when engaging with this legislation, and how you can access this?
  • what would you like to see now, to further empower Scotland’s communities?

Responses to these questions will be analysed by the Community Empowerment Team and findings summarised as part of the overall review.

Update on progress on Community Empowerment Act review 

Kathleen presented on the approach to reviewing the Act as outlined in the Programme for Government 2021 to 2022.  The 11 parts of the Act were highlighted, which covers the portfolios of five Ministers and seven separate policy teams. Tom Arthur as Minister for Public Finance, Planning, and Community Wealth has portfolio responsibility for the overall review, which will include a mix of approaches including a literature review, interviews, workshops, data gathering, and questionnaires. Each individual policy team will be responsible for their own part of the Act.

The review will explore if the legislation is doing what it set out to do and if any changes are required. There will be a particular focus on community ownership and strengthening decision-making to improve outcomes for the local community. The review is due to conclude in late 2023 where a final report will be presented to Ministers.

For the Part 5 asset transfer component of the review, as well as 4.4 above, COSS are also engaging with local community groups to gather their views, and Anya’s will help analyse the data connected with Part 5.  Workshops will be organised during 2023 and members were asked to consider:

  • which part of the act should we focus on?
  • how the group help inform the process?
  • what weaknesses (if any) are there in the legislation?
  • hosting a workshop in 2023

Action: group to consider these questions and feedback any thoughts/ comments to Malcolm Cowie.

Tracy Jackson (Community Wealth Building Team Leader) provided a brief update on the Community Wealth Building (CWB) Bill. The Programme for Government 2021 to 2022 set out a commitment to bring forward CWB legislation within this Parliamentary session.

The legislation will attempt to address blockages identified within the area’s leading the implementation of CWB and support further embedding of this approach, building on the good practice already underway.  A CWB Bill Steering Group has been established to support this work, chaired by Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning and Community Wealth.

The 5 pillars of Community Wealth Building are:  

Spending: Maximising community benefits through procurement and commissioning, developing good enterprises, fair work and shorter supply chains.

Workforce: Increasing fair work and developing local labour markets that support the wellbeing of communities.

Land and Property: Growing social, ecological, financial and economic value that local communities gain from land and property assets.

Inclusive Ownership: Developing more local and social enterprises which generate community wealth, including social enterprises, employee owned firms and cooperatives.

Finance: Ensuring that flows of investment and financial institutions work for local people, communities and businesses.

Themes will be identified and local anchor organisations will be used to develop CWB and learning will be shared. A CWB consultation is planned which will include policy round table discussions and workshops, and a wider public consultation is planned for later in the year.

Any other business

There was no other business.

Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is 11 May 2023.

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