Justifying the discount

Benefits of Asset Transfer

The Scottish Government Guidance on Asset Transfer states:

“When the price offered in an asset transfer request is less than the market value of the property, the relevant authority will need to consider whether the proposed benefits to be delivered by the community transfer body justify the proposed discount (which will be accounted for as a "gift”)

“The benefits of the request should be proportionate to the value of the asset and the level of discount, with an appropriate level of information to support the application”

 The relevant authority will be looking for two main types of benefit in your ATR to justify any discount you have requested. 

1. Financial savings to the public sector as a result of your proposal

Your ATR should provide details of the financial impact of your proposal, these could include:

  • Direct financial savings to the relevant authority such as: no longer having to maintain the asset, pay for future capital costs (major repairs) or other running costs of the building.
  • Savings made by the public sector as a result of your activities – i.e. if your project aims to reduce re-offending amongst former prisoners, that will bring about a saving to the Scottish Prison service or if you are running services which help older people remain in their own homes, that will bring about a saving to the local authority, who would otherwise have to pay the costs of their care. 

2. Level of community benefits

It is important to show the benefits you will deliver as part of your proposal. These could include contribution towards local or national priorities such as: improved standards of healthcare, contribution towards alleviating homelessness, supporting local employment, tackling poverty or protecting the environment.

The Scottish Government Guidance on assessing asset transfer requests sets out the areas that relevant authorities need to take into account when considering Asset Transfer Requests. It can be helpful to use these as headings when describing the benefits you will deliver in the Asset Transfer Request form. 

  • Economic development
  • Regeneration
  • Public health
  • Social wellbeing
  • Environmental wellbeing
  • Reducing inequalities of outcome from socio-economic disadvantage
  • Any other benefits that might arise through the alternative use of the asset

Linking your outcomes to national and local strategies will show how your project will contribute to these priorities.

  • The National Performance Framework (NPF)
  • Local Outcome Improvement Plans and Locality Plans - available from your local authority website
  • Other strategies – Mental Health, Environmental, Arts & Culture, Heritage…

Read through these documents and make direct connections between your proposal and the outcomes in the strategy i.e. “Our baby and toddler service will help meet the NPF outcome ‘Our children grow up loved, safe and respected so they realise their full potential’ by providing a supportive and nurturing environment for young children”

Detailing ‘softer’ outcomes is important as well, benefits such as: the improvement in local wellbeing from developing local green spaces; the increase in participation from a marginalised group or groups, improved community cohesion, pride in the community and intergenerational activity are all important benefits even if they are harder to quantify. 

You may find using the Outcomes Matrix useful for considering the range of outcomes your project could deliver. 

Scottish Government Guidance - Assessing ATR

These are the areas that the Scottish Government Guidance recomends that relevant authorities should consider when assessing an asset transfer request, bear them in mind when writing your ATR. 

a) Value to relevant authority in existing use

  • feasibility and cost of relocation of services elsewhere
  • potential revenue savings arising from transfer

b) Value for alternative use/redevelopment

c) Value for proposed and other community purposes

d) Level of community benefits

  • extent of community served.
  • nature of benefits to be delivered.
  • links to relevant authority's corporate priorities and outcomes.
  • community need/demand for the services.

e) Likelihood that benefits will be delivered over a 5-year period

  • strength of organisation.
  • sustainability of business plan/project.
  • sources and level of funding support.

f) Impact of project failure

  • to surrounding local environment.
  • to reputation of the parties.
  • to the service users/relevant authority's objectives.