We are committed to community asset transfer where that will bring benefits to communities and contribute towards achieving the our aims and objectives.
We recognise that community asset transfer can be a valuable part of supporting and sustaining local communities in Aberdeenshire and we wish to ensure council assets can be owned and managed by the people who regularly use them.
We are fully committed to using council assets to form long-term partnerships with voluntary and community organisations that meet our criteria, in order to create stronger, more cohesive and more sustainable communities.
We will react positively to all enquiries from voluntary and community organisations concerning the potential for community asset transfers and will support such groups when required to develop business plans and to put in place arrangements for managing the assets.
We will put in place a transparent process for community asset transfer and will adopt an agreed method of assessing requests.
We will consider transfer of an asset to any voluntary and community organisation (VCO) that makes a credible application (supported by an appropriate business plan) and demonstrates that it has the skills and capacity to manage the asset.
Whilst transfer of full responsibility for an asset either through a long term lease or outright ownership are the preferred options, we will consider transferring management responsibility for an asset to a community group whilst maintaining some revenue funding in support of its operation where there is merit in doing so.
Whilst fully supporting the principle of asset transfer this policy also recognises that some assets must remain under council ownership and management in order to support delivery of essential services, continue to provide an income stream to the council or support economic activity in an area. In addition some assets may have title conditions or burdens on them making them unsuitable for transfer whilst others may be required by the council because of their potential to generate significant capital receipts if sold on the open market. We will consider as part of the initial assessment of an application whether an asset should be retained by the council or could be transferred.
Description of asset covered by policy
The policy applies to land or building in the ownership of Aberdeenshire Council that are deemed to be under performing or surplus to requirements as well as to “community amenity assets" such as town halls, village halls, community centres, bowling greens, public conveniences, country parks, etc.
Not all council assets will be considered suitable for transfer. Assets that are required for the delivery of essential services or are generating an income stream for the council will not be considered suitable for transfer.
Those assets which have the potential to generate significant capital receipts to help fund our ambitious capital programme will not be considered suitable for transfer either for lease or sale at below best consideration.
Assets which have title burdens or conditions on them may also not be suitable for transfer. For suitable assets potential transfers will be considered on a case-by-case basis against the criteria outlined in this policy.
Types of voluntary and community groups covered by policy
For the purpose of this policy a VCO will:
- be formally-constituted
- have sound long-term management and governance arrangements and/or the necessary expertise and experience
- have its own decision-making system and accountability to independent trustees or its own members or constituents
- not distribute any surplus to owners or members but applies it to serving its basic purpose (excludes commercial concerns but includes organisations which charge users or the public for services or undertakes contracts for the council)
- be non-political and is not engaged in supporting candidates for political office
- have an element of involvement of volunteers
We will consider transfer of assets to long established, stable and secure formal groups and will also consider transfers to newly formed VCOs provided they can demonstrate they have the necessary expertise and experience to manage the asset and have a sound business plan in place.
Full policy download
The full Aberdeenshire Council: Community Asset Transfer (CAT) Policy (pdf 189KB) is available to download.