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
- Martin McNicoll, Analytical Services, Scottish Government
- 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
- Professor Michael Roy, Antermony Trust (guest speaker)
- Kate Kilpatrick, Researcher, Scottish Government
- Andy Oliver, NHS Highland (for Helen Emery)
- Erin Dobson, Community Empowerment Team, Scottish Government
- Ian Turner, Community Empowerment Team, Scottish Government
- Richard Kelly, Glasgow City Council
- Tom Burns, South Ayrshire Council
- Euan Campbell, Community Empowerment, Scottish Government
- Philip Prentice, Scotland’s Towns Partnership
- Pauline Bradshaw, Glasgow City Council
- Helen Emery, NHS Highland
- Gareth Evans, NHS Grampian
- Allan Roberts, Transport Scotland
- Lucile Rankin, Property Division, Scottish Government
Items and actions
Welcome and introductions
The Chair welcomed everyone and introduced Professor Michael Roy, Antermony Development Trust, who will be speaking to the group on the Trust’s experience of the asset transfer process; and Ian Turner, the new SG Community Empowerment Unit Head.
Apologies were noted. The Chair also noted that Geraldine Campbell (SG Community Wealth Building) and Sarah Baird (South Ayrshire Council) have recently moved posts and have stepped down from the group, and thanked them for their contributions. Tom Burns (Asset Management Service Lead, South Ayrshire Council) attended the meeting today until Sarah’s replacement (Robin Jamieson, Community Asset Transfer Manager, South Ayrshire Council) starts.
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. The Portpatrick Hall appeal to Dumfries and Galloway Council has now been completed and the decision has been posted on the SG website (link below). An appeal to Scottish Ministers has been received from Viewpark Gardens Trust who are appealing a decision made by North Lanarkshire Council for the lease of Viewpark Gardens in Uddingston. This is currently being considered by DPEA reporters Asset transfer requests: index of notifications
- the deadline for relevant authority annual reporting for asset transfer has now passed and as of 6th July, 51% of RA’s had reported their AT activity (update: as of October 2021 this is now 59%)
- 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 to 2022 to do this
- the review will be co-ordinated by the Community Empowerment Team but each part will be led by the relevant policy team. A key focus of the review will include the implications of the legislation for disadvantaged communities whether of place or interest. The opportunity to review other community empowerment mechanisms outwith the Act will also be explored, for example participatory budgeting
- Jillian updated on a short piece of work Audit Scotland have been doing in conjunction with partners on community empowerment and the response to COVID-19. Jillian mentioned this will include publishing a report in October which will include key learning and case studies, and will build on the earlier Principles for Community Empowerment work that Audit Scotland carried out in partnership with stakeholders in 2019
Minute of last meeting
The minutes of the last meeting held on 23 March 2021 were agreed and have now been published on the National Asset Transfer Action Group SG webpage.
Presentation: annual reporting returns
Malcolm presented the latest relevant authority annual reporting returns for 2020 to 2021 that were due in June 2021. The figures were caveated with the list of 95 organisations having been agreed with partners and stakeholders as there is no overarching list that names each individual organisation, and organisations can be added or removed from the list as required.
In 2020 to 2021, and according to the available information on relevant authority websites and from the reporting templates returned to Scottish Government, out of 95 relevant authorities 57 have reported their asset transfer activity. This constitutes 59% of those due to report. In the reporting year 34 requests were received, 42 were granted, eight refused, and 31 were to be determined.
Malcolm highlighted the impact of the annual reporting template, which has helped support an improvement in reporting levels from 51% compliance in 2019 to 2020 to 59% in 2020 to 2021, and also the quality of data received.
Cumulative figures (2017 to 2021) show that in the four years since asset transfer legislation has been in force, 292 asset transfers have been submitted using the legislation, 164 have been agreed, 95 in progress, and 27 refused. These figures do not include the many asset transfers agreed outwith the legislation.
Presentation: antermony development trust
Michael Roy, who is Professor of Economic Sociology and Social Policy at Glasgow Caledonian University joined us in his capacity as Secretary of Antermony Development Trust and provided an overview of the Trust’s experience with the asset transfer process. He has a great depth of professional experience: he worked at the Scottish Government for over a decade including in senior policy roles, finance and the Office of the Chief Scientific Advisor, and played a leading role in the development of the Scottish Government’s first skills strategy. He was also a consultant to the public and third sectors and set up and ran his own social enterprise for a time.
Professor Roy explained that the site at Antermony Loch near Milton of Campsie has had fishing rights since 1947 and consists of a 16 HA site, of which 14 HA are water. The Loch has had various owners over the years, and since the 1990’s East Dunbartonshire Council (EDC) has owned it.
In 2012 a sale from EDC to Caurnie Angling Club fell through due to, it is understood, intervention from the local landowner, and in 2018 heads of terms on a new extended 25 year lease was agreed between EDC and the angling club.
In 2019 the Antermony Development Trust was then formed by office bearers of Caurnie Angling Club, with the view to take on the asset. After many months of initial discussions with EDC, a full asset transfer application was submitted by ADT to EDC in December 2019, which was eventually validated in October 2020.
There followed a two year period of exchanges with EDC, and various letters of support/ business plans/ assistance from the Community Ownership Support Service - however the asset transfer has still yet to be agreed, having been delayed by a variety of circumstances including changes in personnel within EDC.
Professor Roy concluded that ADT’s experience of the asset transfer process has been very frustrating, with ADT experiencing many unacceptable delays, with significant periods of failure to respond and engagement from EDC, both with the Trust and with DTAS on several occasions. While the COVID-19 pandemic played a role in this, he feels that there has been a significant lack of understanding of the Act, of the guidance, of the considerable expertise and experience within the Trust on managing the site, and proportionality given the size and value of the asset in question.
Calculating social value for asset transfers
Kathleen thanked members for passing on comments to Malcolm which have helped inform the Considering Social Value for Asset Transfer paper. Malcolm then provided a short introductory update on progress on developing this work since the March meeting of this group. He talked through the draft Social Value national guidance document which had been shared with the group prior to the meeting; highlighting social value in the specific asset transfer context, good practice in asset transfer, and the various links and tools available to support the process which will be included in the final version of the guidance.
Kathleen then invited further comments from the group, where members asked for a social value approach to be included that considered the economic discounts of asset transfers. Members of the NATAG also suggested a best practice section to be included in the new guidance which they felt was missing and would be helpful in informing best value discussions.
Overall, the draft guidance document was well received and welcomed as a supportive tool for relevant authorities when considering social value.
Comments will be finalised and the new guidance on Considering Social Value for Asset Transfers is to be launched at the first asset transfer national event for relevant authorities on 7 September 2021 (update: now completed).
Action – final comments on the draft social value guidance document to be sent to Malcolm by 6 August (action now completed).
Asset transfer national event for relevant authorities
Malcolm introduced SG plans for the two national asset transfer events to be held in the Autumn.
The first event is to be held on Tuesday 7 September and is aimed at all 95 relevant authorities and will consider the four years data and activity to date, the various evaluations on asset transfer activity that have been carried out including the Glasgow Caledonian University evaluation and the work of the last parliaments Local Government and Communities Committee. The event will also look at the wider land use context and allow relevant authorities to meet and think about their future plans.
The second asset transfer national event is to be held on Tuesday 5th October and is aimed at the various community transfer bodies concerned with asset transfers. The event is designed to encourage asset transfer activity, raise awareness of support available, and signpost community groups to help/ support when they are needing this.
Both events will be held online, and are to be opened by Tom Arthur MSP, Minister for Public Finance, Planning, and Community Wealth, who will launch the new Considering Social Value for Asset Transfer national guidance at the September event (completed).
Action – suggestions for the two Autumn asset transfer national events to be sent to Malcolm.
Any other business
There was no other business.
Date of next meeting
The date of the next meeting is 2 December 2021.
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