Scottish Public Finance Manual

The Scottish Public Finance Manual (SPFM) is issued by the Scottish Ministers to provide guidance on the proper handling and reporting of public funds.

FGN 2018/08 SPFM amendments: August 2018

The purpose of this note is to announce recent amendments to the Scottish Public Finance manual  (SPFM). The amendments are as follows:

The sections on Property:Acquisition, Disposal and management has been updated to reflect the new Community Empowerment Legislation - The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.  New paragraphs have been included in Guidance: disposal of property- paragraph 8 and 9 disposals of assets under community empowerment legislation.

Throughout this document terminology updates have been inserted to reflect changes within Scottish Government Directorate naming and hyper-links and other changes for ease of reading.

Terminology updates include – Secretary for Finance and the Constitution; inclusion of relevant Finance Business Partner; Senior Responsible Owner; Manager; Corporate Reporting Unit; ePIMSTM.

Guidance: Disposal of Property section has been updated, specific areas of interest are:

  • guidance on disposals of assets under community empowerment legislation. With the introduction of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 setting out the rights of communities to acquire rights in publicly owned assets the guidance is updated  to reflect this and direct bodies to further sources of support and advice from Finance Business Partners, Community Land team and Property Division. The guidance also aims to clarify that decisions on sale at less than market value under these circumstances still need to be consistent with the principles of Best Value.
  • The Community Empowerment Act 2015: In particular Part 4 Community Right to Buy land and Part 5 Asset Transfer Requests
  • new process regarding the disposal of surplus assets, when identified through the Trawl. Under certain circumstances a direct transaction is possible to a body which is not part of those to which the SPFM directly applies.   
  • Disposal of tied houses and sales to other sitting tenants section has been deleted. The Housing Scotland Act 2014 which came into force on 1 August 2016 provides for the abolition of council and social housing tenants the legal right to buy  (Part 1 of the Act) at discount.  The RtB legislation was followed by the SG and is therefore no longer applicable.
  • General Principles section has been updated  to emphasise the use of asset management systems (Asset Registers) and/or ePIMSTM (Electronic Property information Mapping) and the need for accurate and up to date information and also to reflect current naming conventions and requirements.
  • requirement to consult Property Division – This has been altered to make it more clear under which circumstances Bodies should provide details to Property Division.
  • Legal Advisers – This paragraph has changed to reflect and explain the use of Appropriation Orders for the transfer of assets between accounting entities within SG.
  • online advertising – the Scottish Government no longer subscribe to online advertising.
  • Acquisition of property – this section updates include further emphasis on the current requirements for a Statement of Need when acquiring property for accommodation before concluding any agreements. Updates include the process stages for ease of reading plus inclusion of relevant up to date hyper-links.
  • The section also references Appropriation Orders that can now be used when acquiring property from within Scottish Minister’s holdings.
  • internal advertisment – pro-forma is updated to include space to identify what information on the property is available and included in the notification. The requirement to provide as much information as possible is in an attempt to make the ‘trawl’ process more efficient for both disposing and acquiring bodies.
  • There is also a requirement under Community Asset Transfer for as much information as possible to be made available for community bodies interested in acquiring an interest in publicly owned assets.
  • Management of assets – asset registers section has changed to reflect the minimum requirements necessary for inclusion in the Asset Register as stipulated in the Government Financial Reporting Manual and these are now:
  1. Asset identification and description
  2. Asset location
  3. Date of acquisition (i.e. purchase date)
  4. Initial capital expenditure (purchase price)
  5. Useful economic life of the asset
  6. User cost centre
  7. Source of funds (e.g. Government, donation, leased)
  8. Amendments cover updating to reflect current terminology – finance reporting

Scottish Government Finance Directorate

August 2018

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