Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides eligible community groups with the opportunity to request to own, manage or lease a publicly owned asset (land or building) that they feel they could make better use of. This process is called Community Asset Transfer (CAT) and enables communities to make requests not just to local authorities, but a wide-ranging list of public bodies (relevant authorities).
Under the terms of the Act, a community group needs to be a ‘community transfer body’ to be eligible to make an asset transfer request in that it is either a community controlled body or a body designated by the Scottish Ministers. Depending on whether the request for asset transfer is for a lease/management agreement or ownership, the community transfer body must meet different governance requirements. For instance, there is no need for those requesting a lease/management agreement to be incorporated (it is however advisable!) whereas those requesting ownership must either be incorporated as a company limited by guarantee, Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation (SCIO) or Community Benefit Society (CBS) and have a minimum of 20 members.
Most relevant authorities will have a two stage asset transfer process, with the first being a simple application to express interest and the second being the submission of the fully completed asset transfer request. Community groups interested in a South Lanarkshire Council asset should refer to this link.