Validation and Decision Notices explained
Once a Relevant Authority agrees that all required information has been received as laid down in the Act a Validation Notice will be issued.
The Validation Notice date is the start date for the legal process. Any correspondence prior to this notice being issued will be during the ‘negotiation’ stage of the process and therefore out with the Act.
A Validation Notice must contain:
- the validation date – this is the date on which the last of the required information was received (the date the request was received if it was complete). This is the date from which other time limits will be calculated.
- an explanation of the timescale to issue the decision notice. As set out in regulation 10 and section 82(8), relevant authorities must issue a decision notice within 6 months after the validation date, unless a longer period is agreed between the relevant authority and the community transfer body.
- information about the right to appeal to the Scottish Ministers or request a review, as appropriate. This is required at the outset because of the option to appeal if no decision is made within the time limit. The acknowledgement should set out who the appeal or request for review can be made to, according to the relevant authority to which the request is made, and the circumstances in which it can be made. It would also be helpful to provide details of the address to which an appeal or request for review should be sent.
- whether another asset transfer request has already been made to the relevant authority in respect of the same land (or part of the same land).
- whether the relevant authority considers that it is now prohibited from disposing of the land to any other person.
Having made its decision based on the information provided in the asset transfer request, the relevant authority must issue a decision notice to the community transfer body, under section 82(7) of the Act, setting out its decision and the reasons for it. This must be done within six months from the validation date, as prescribed in regulation 10 of the Procedure Regulations, or a longer period if agreed between the relevant authority and the community transfer body. If no decision notice is issued within this time, the community transfer body has the right to request a review or appeal to the Scottish Ministers, as appropriate.
The decision should not be unnecessarily delayed. It may be possible to make a decision in less than six months if the request is straightforward or there has been substantial discussion with the community transfer body before the request is submitted – as little as three months has been suggested. On the other hand, a longer period may be required for complex requests or where another process is required to remove a restriction on the relevant authority. Relevant authorities should advise the community transfer body of any potential delays at the earliest opportunity, and seek their agreement to an extension to the time period. An extension should always be agreed before the prescribed (or previously extended) period expires.
The information to be provided in a decision notice is set out in sections 82(7) and 83(2) of the Act, and regulation 11 of the Procedure Regulations.
It must do the following:
A. state the date on which the asset transfer request was made
B. identify the community transfer body which made the request
C. identify the land to which the request relates
D. set out the authority‘s decision to agree to or refuse the request
E. set out the authority‘s reasons for its decision
F. contain notification of the right of appeal or review, how an appeal or application for review may be made, and the date by which it must be made.
and if the request is agreed:
G. specify the terms and conditions on which the authority is prepared to transfer ownership, lease the land or confer the rights requested
H. state that, to proceed with the process, the community transfer body must submit an offer,
I. specify the period within which the offer must be submitted (this must be at least 6 months from the date of the decision notice)
Model Validation and Decision Notices can be found in the Resources Section of the Scottish Government website.