Before submitting an application interested voluntary and community organisations (VCOs) are encouraged to discuss their options, their suitability and the scope of community asset transfer with their local Area Manager. These informal discussions will help them to finalise their requirements and to prepare for the process of making a formal application for transfer.
Stage 1 Application
The Council recognises that developing the business case and preparing an application for community asset transfer can be both time consuming and resource intensive for VCOs. Stage 1 of the application process has therefore been designed to assess whether any potential application will meet the Council’s suitability criteria. It should not take any VCO long to complete and should avoid the VCO wasting its valuable resources on an application that has no chance of being approved by the Council.
Stage 2 Application
The stage 2 application form should be submitted after the Stage 1 (Suitability) Application has been approved by the Council. The aim of the Stage 2 Application Form is to obtain from the VCO all the information that the Council will need to make a decision.
The range of information required to be provided on the application form will vary depending on the circumstances of the transfer. VCOs should try to provide as much information as possible to ensure that the Council can effectively process their application.
The information required to complete this form should be drawn from a range of existing documentation including:-
- Constitution of the Organisation
- Business Plan
- Asset Management Plan
- Annual Reports, etc.
A copy of the Business Plan for the asset must be included with the application form.
The Guidance includes a Business Plan Template for voluntary and community groups in the process of developing their Business Plan.
There is a range of information available on the internet to VCOs and individuals interested in Community asset Transfer so it is not possible to provide a comprehensive list of reference sites. On the right hand side of the page are links to probably the most useful sites. The following explains the type of information you might find if you visit these sites.
The Scottish Government sees community ownership of assets as one way of empowering communities. The website provides information on their approach. On the same site VCOs can find information on the Community Empowerment (Scotland Bill). This was put before the Scottish Parliament on the 11th June 2014. The Bill is split into a number of Parts, Of particular relevance to those with an interest in community ownership are:-
Part 4 which amends Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003, extending the community right to buy to all of Scotland, and introduces a new Part 3A to that Act to make provision for community bodies to purchase neglected and abandoned land where the owner is not willing to sell that land.
Part 5 which provides community bodies a right to request to purchase, lease, manage or use land and buildings belonging to local authorities, Scottish public bodies or the Scottish Ministers.
Aberdeenshire Council is fairly confident that its Community asset Transfer Policy mirrors the requirements set out in the Bill. However the policy will be reviewed once the Bill has been passed by the Parliament to make sure it covers all requirements set out in the Bill.
COSS is a programme hosted by DTA Scotland and is funded by the Scottish Government to support the transfer of publicly held assets into community ownership. They can provide:-
- Expert advice on all aspects of asset transfer
- Training seminars on the asset transfer and asset development process
- Sign-posting to other relevant support agencies
- A comprehensive web resource including information on good practice, toolkits and case studies.
Locality claims to be the leading nationwide network for community led organisations. They can provide expert advice and support for community enterprises.
Although most relevant to those living and working in the Highlands this website provides examples of some of the initiatives being undertaken to support communities in sparsely populated areas. On the website you can find a guide to asset transfer.
Buchan Development Partnership is an independent community led organisation, established in 2000 to progress economic, social and environmental development in the Buchan area of Aberdeenshire. They can provide resources to help communities develop their plans.