A way to demonstrate resources are being put to good use is to demonstrate Best Value. Best Value is the requirement to make arrangements to secure continuous improvement in performance whilst maintaining an appropriate balance between effectiveness and economy. It also requires due regard to equal opportunities requirements, and to contribute to the achievement of sustainable development.
A useful starting point can be to carry out an options appraisal for the future use of the asset. This would cover both retention of the property by the relevant authority and disposal to the community organisation at less than best consideration, in order to identify the current and likely on-going costs and benefits associated with each option. For example, if the property was retained, it would involve the costs of maintenance, security and/or demolition as well as the potential lost opportunity enabling new or maintaining existing services in the community. With regard to asset transfer, costs to the local authority might include the potential loss of capital receipt or of market rent (where this is realistic).
It should be borne in mind that an asset transfer request must be agreed to unless there are reasonable grounds for refusal - so retention of the property may not be an option, unless perhaps as landlord.
Best Value Themes
When completing an Asset Transfer Request communities should take into consideration and address all of the relevant points for each of the 7 criteria in the the guidance notes from the Scottish Government.
|Best Value Theme||Summary||Information Required|
Vision and Leadership
|An organisation will have in place a clear vision and plan for what it will do to contribute to the delivery of improved outcomes for Scotland. This may be linked to one or more local or national priorities e.g. the Scottish Government's National Outcomes.||A clear plan for achieving the intended outcomes, ideally showing links to local or national priorities. Members of the community transfer body would also show that they have the relevant skills and experience to deliver the intended objectives.|
|An organisation will show how it, and it's partnerships, provides a collaborative approach to the challenges that communities face.||The detail of any partnerships in place to help ensure successful delivery of the intended benefits. Community support is vital and can be shown through a variety of metrics such as surveys, consultations or ballots.|
Governance and Accountability
|An organisation will be able to demonstrate structures, policies and leadership behaviours that support the application of good standards of governance and accountability.||An outline to illustrate that the appropriate structures and policies are in place to help ensure success in the longer-term.|
Use of Resources
|An organisation will show how its effective management of all resources (including staff, assets, and information) is contributing to the delivery of specific outcomes, highlighted in the national outcomes.||Explain how the body's current and future resources will be used as part of a medium to long term plan (5-10 years). This could include the numbers of employees or volunteers and the maintenance of any asset. This could also include the funding requirements of the group and the sources of funding already in place.|
|Performance Management||An organisation will ensure that robust arrangements are in place to monitor the achievement of its desired outcomes as well as any reporting arrangements.||Outline the way in which a community transfer body will be able to monitor the achievement of its objectives, whether that be recording volunteers time or the amount of benefit achieved as part of the overarching vision. To demonstrate openness and transparency it will be important to report performance to the community.|
|Sustainability||An organisation will demonstrate an effective use of resources in the short-term and an informed prioritisation of the use of resources in the longer-term in order to contribute to sustainable development. The goal of Sustainable Development is to enable all people throughout the world to satisfy their basic needs and enjoy a better quality of life without compromising the quality of life of future generations.||
There are five broad principles of sustainability:
A community transfer body could demonstrate how its future funding or self-financing arrangements are to be achieved. Any proposal could also include any positive impact on the natural environment.
|Equality||An organisation will demonstrate that consideration of equality issues is embedded in its vision and strategic direction and throughout all of its work.||The community transfer body should establish that the different groups within the community have had their different needs taken into account. Any request should include where a proposal may be reducing inequalities of outcome from socio-economic disadvantage.|
An Assessing Best Value fact sheet can be found in related resources below.