The Legal Requirements
It is sensible to use the Asset Transfer Request Form provided by the relevant authority, as this will help you submit all the required information. However, it is not a requirement that you do so. If you choose not to use the provided form, see the Content of an Asset Transfer Request section of this site for further details of the information you must provide.
In addition to your Asset Transfer Request Form, you may need to submit the following documents as part of your request:
- Your organisation’s constitution, articles of association or registered rules (required).
- Any maps, drawings or a description of the land requested.
- Evidence of community support - i.e. letters from organisations and community surveys.
Although it is not a requirement of the Community Empowerment Act, many public bodies will also ask for organisations to submit a Business Plan as part of their Asset Transfer Request,
The Business Plan should be developed alongside your Asset Transfer Request Form as it will help populate this important document. Ensuring your Business Plan has everything you need for your Asset Transfer Request Form will ensure you don't duplicate effort.
How to complete your Asset Transfer Request
Although you can submit the information above and have your Asset Transfer Request be compliant with the legal requirements, submitting minimal information is unlikely to be enough to have your asset transfer request approved. Relevant authorities will require more information about your organisation, your plans, the support from your community, the benefits you will deliver and the finances behind the project.
Most relevant authorities will use some kind of assessment matrix to score your Asset Transfer Request and determine whether or not to approve it. Ask your contact at the relevant authority for a copy of the matrix, so you can understand their priorities and the information you will need to provide.
How much information and detail you provide in your Asset Transfer Request should be proportionate to the scale of your project. A simple transfer of ownership for an asset which you have been leasing for a number of years should not require a highly detailed request. However, if you are taking on a large project, an asset with historical significance or a building delivering important services you should be prepared to provide detailed and robust plans to the relevant authority.
The Scottish Government provides a model Asset Transfer Request Form and most relevant authorities use this or an adapted version. These are the main sections and the information you will need to provide.
- Community Proposal
- Benefits of the proposal
- Capacity to deliver
- Level and nature of support
This is where you say why you want to take on this asset, your project objectives and any changes you plan to make.
- Start by providing a bit of background about what the needs and aspirations are in your community, the problems and issues, but also the strengths you can build on.
- Outline your main objectives for the asset and set out a clear vision of where you want to get to.
- Set out all the activities you plan to deliver using the asset.
- Set out timescales and stages as part of a project plan - when you will start delivering activities, if you are having refurbishment work done outline when will you expect that be complete. Be realistic and build in extra time for delays.
- If you considered other options for different sites or alternative ways of acheiving your objectives, set out the reasons why you chose this asset as the best option.
Benefits of the proposal
This section is where you outline the benefits your proposal will have for the community. Please refer to the Demonstrating Best Value and Justifying the Discount sections on the left for further details of how to complete this section.
The Scottish Government Guidance on assessing asset transfer requests sets out the types of benefits 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 form.
- Economic development
- 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
Capacity to deliver
This section is about demonstrating you have the capacity to deliver the project you have outlined and the benefits. Capacity includes skills, experience, resources and time.
- Outline your governance structure - what type of legal structure, charitable status, number of people on your board, how often you meet, any sub-committees, what policies you have in place etc.
- Outline the skills you have on your board and those you have access to in your wider membership and community. A short bio of each board member with their skills and experience is helpful. Highlight skills relevant to the asset transfer such as finance, project management and facilities management.
- Provide details of past projects you have completed succesfully as an organisation - if you are a new group then refer to the experience you have from previous voluntary roles, work and personal lives.
- Show clearly who is going to be responsible for each part of the project and how as a board you are going to oversee the asset transfer. If you have used or plan to use professional advisors, give details of the type of advice they will provide.
Level and Nature of Support
This section gives you an opportunity to show support for the project from your community.
- Indicate the types of work you carried out to gather views from the community - surveys, social media activity, workshops, interviews and petitions.
- Provide headline figures from any enaggement work you have undertaken to gauge support and gather ideas. The full reports can be submitted as additional documents
- Indicate any letters of support you have from individuals and organisations. The letters themselves can be submitted as additional documents
- If you have identified any groups or individuals who may be negatively impacted by the asset transfer, set-out here how you have engaged with them and how you will work to reduce any negative impact.
In this section you need to provide details of how you plan to fund the asset transfer, the resulting project and create a sustainable business model.
- Provide details of capital funding that will be required for the transfer itself and any additional works you plan to have undertaken. Detail where you intend to source that funding - trusts and foundations, donations, own funds etc. It is not expected to have all the funding secured, but an indication of eligibility and early discussions having taken place is advisable
- Provide details of how you will manage to run the asset in a financially sustainable way once transferred. A forecast of income and expenditure is advisible. If you are not sure of running costs, ask the relevant authority for what their operating costs have been.