National Asset Transfer Action Group: December 2021

Minutes from the fifth meeting of the group, held on 2 December 2021.

Attendees and apologies


  • Kathleen Glazik (Chair), Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Malcolm Cowie (Secretariat), Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
  • Maureen Burgess, Fife Voluntary Action
  • Alex Byers , Glasgow Life
  • Rebecca Carr, Forestry and Land Scotland
  • Christine Clarke,  Dumfries and Galloway Third Sector Interface
  • Lauren Cowling,  NHS Grampian
  • Linda Gillespie, Community Ownership Support Service
  • Angus Hardie, Scottish Community Alliance
  • Sandra Holmes, Highland and Islands Enterprise
  • David Mitchell, Property Division, Scottish Government
  • Dave Thomson, Community Land, Scottish Government
  • Rebekah Dundas, Scottish Land Fund
  • Jillian Matthew, Audit Scotland
  • Neil Mcinroy, Community Wealth Building, Scottish Government
  • Richard Kelly, Glasgow City Council 
  • Tom Burns, South Ayrshire Council
  • Pauline Bradshaw, Glasgow City Council
  • Robin Jamieson, South Ayrshire Council
  • Philip Prentice, Scotland’s Towns Partnership


  • Helen Emery, NHS Highland
  • Gareth Evans, NHS Grampian
  • Allan Roberts, Transport Scotland

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

The Chair welcomed everyone and introduced Robin Jamieson, Asset Transfer Manager at South Ayrshire Council who has replaced Sarah Baird. The Chair thanked Christine Clarke, Dumfries and Galloway TSI, who is standing down from the group due to retirement and wished her all the best. The Chair also updated that Euan Campbell, Scottish Government Community Empowerment Team has moved to another post.

Apologies were noted.

Update on Activity

Updates on activity since the last meeting was provided as follows:

  • an update was provided on asset transfer appeals to Scottish Ministers. Completed appeals and current outstanding appeals can be viewed online at our index of notifications:  Asset transfer requests: index of notifications
  • as of 5 October 2021, 59% of Relevant Authorities have reported their asset transfer activity for 2020/21. This figure is unlikely to increase any further, however it is more than last year (51% 2019/20), and a further increase on the previous year (49% 2018/19)
  • with thanks to the group for guidance and support, the Asset Transfer Guidance for Considering Social Value was published on 7 September 2021 and was well received. Formally launched by Tom Arthur, Minister for Public Finance, Planning, and Community Wealth, it is complementary to Scottish Government published statutory guidance on asset transfer for relevant authorities and community transfer bodies
  • Scottish Government held the first ever Asset Transfer National Event for Relevant Authorities on 7 September 2021 which was attended by 120 delegates from a wide range of stakeholders. Workshops were delivered from the Community Ownership Support Service; Audit Scotland; Centre for Local Economic Strategies Scotland; and Scottish Government policy teams
  • this was closely followed on 5 October 2021 with the Scottish Government’s second ever Asset Transfer National Event, for Community Transfer Bodies and was attended by 100 attendees. Workshops were delivered by the Community Ownership Support Service and the Scottish Government Community Empowerment Team. Presentations were given by Glasgow Caledonian University researchers on the community impact of asset transfers; and from Grow 73 Community Garden on their experience of the asset transfer process

Minute of last meeting

The minutes of the last meeting held on 22 July 2021 were agreed and have been published on the National Asset Transfer Action Group.

Presentation: findings and emerging themes coming from the Asset Transfer National Events held in September and October 2021

Malcolm presented on the main findings of the two national events which were both very well received, complimenting the papers circulated to the group prior to the meeting. There followed a general discussion on these findings/ events.

 Main findings from event one (Relevant Authorities): 7 September 2021:

  • Minister highlighted the need to improve annual reporting, and urged RA’s to complete and return annual reporting templates
  • Minister also highlighted the need to trust our communities, and confident empowered communities whether running community assets or deciding on public budgets are in all our interests
  • request for more data on informal asset transfers specifically
  • request for more data splitting up the different types of asset transfers by geography and/or type
  • expressions of praise for community wealth building and asset transfer
  • desire to talk about good examples of community wealth building

Main findings from event two (Community Transfer Groups): 5 October 2021:

  • they wanted councils across the board to recognise and reference the Community Empowerment Act
  • participants wished for more local authority transparency so they could know what assets were available and be kept informed about timescales
  • having an independent figure working between the community organisation and the council would help make councils accountable to timescales and to the legislation more widely, lessening the burden on communities to do so
  • they would like to know how the transfer of land between registries is progressing ahead of the 2024 deadline
  • some experienced difficulties with the two tier requirement - this may in part represent a lack of understanding about the definition of a tier in this context
  • community organisations with an ethnic minority base had concerns about being able to gain the support of the wider community for the transfer – this was raised in reference to communities of interest more broadly too
  • they wanted more information on available funding

Presentation: review of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, and in particular, part 5’s role in the review

Kathleen provided an update on work to progress the review of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, following the 2021 SNP manifesto commitment to review the Community Empowerment Act and consult on ways in which it could be expanded to put more power in the hands of people and communities, and also the commitment in A Fairer, Greener Scotland: Programme for Government 2021-22 to do this.

The review is being co-ordinated by the Community Empowerment Team in collaboration with policy leads for each part of the Act. The Act spans eleven parts, seven policy areas, five ministers and includes a mix of legislation at various stages of implementation and delivery. 

Part 5 Asset Transfer will form a key part of the review and will be led by Malcolm Cowie working with this group, COSS, relevant authorities, community transfer groups and all other interested parties.

Any other business

There was no other business.

Date of next meeting

The date of the next meeting is 4 August 2022.

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