Evaluating the benefits

While arriving at a formal property valuation is solely the province of the appointed valuer, evaluation of the wider benefits (and costs) of the proposed disposal on the other hand  will require a corporate approach. This may also be helped by consultation with external stakeholders with an interest in the objectives of, and anticipated outcomes from, the disposal.

Experience to date shows that it is often not practicable to establish the monetary value of many of the wider benefits likely to arise from disposals at less than best consideration. While practitioners of methodologies such as Social Return on Investment (SROI)  and LM3 (Local Multiplier 3) have argued that the monetary value of most kinds of social or economic benefit can be arrived at, in many cases the costs of commissioning such studies (whether borne by the relevant authority or community organisation) are unlikely to be justifiable in comparison to the likely value of the benefits. This is particularly true when a community group will be taking on a facility and developing new services.

Therefore, a proportionate approach is recommended based on:

  • The estimated significance of the benefit(s) in question.
  • The value of the discount being proposed.

Section 13 of the Relevant Authority guidance for the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 explains how assessment should be made and on what criteria.  

The key is being able to identify anticipated benefits and describe them as being ‘more than’ or ‘less than’ the costs or benefits associated with any alternative for the asset, such as retention or disposal on the open market.

Types of benefit

The matters which the relevant authority must consider for an asset transfer request include the following types of benefit:
  • 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.
Asset transfer at less than market value is justified when these additional benefits empower communities and align with local and national priorities to enable the delivery of Best Value across the public sector as a whole.
Such benefits are likely to align with one or more of the Scottish Government‘s National Outcomes, which all Scottish public authorities are required to have regard to in carrying out their functions (under Part 1 of the Act). They may also contribute to the relevant authority‘s policy objectives or local priorities determined through Community Planning, but the value of benefits should be judged on a broad basis, not only in relation to the particular authority to which the request is made.

Reviewing Asset Transfer Requests

In reviewing each request the following matters, though not exhaustive, should be considered:
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

The Scottish Government guidance for relevant authorities, section 13 provides further details on asessing asset transfer requests. 


Most Relevant Authorities use a scoring Matrix to assess and determine Asset Transfer Requests. Please get in touch with COSS as we can share good practice examples of assessment matrices. 


Related Resources

Asset Transfer Guidance for Relevant Authorities

This guidance has been developed for relevant authorities.  Relevant authorities are required to have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers in carrying out their functions in relation to asset transfer.

PDF icon Asset Transfer RA Guidance Notes.pdf