April 6, 2016
Easy read needed
The language used in drafting legislation is, by definition legalistic, and as such impenetrable. When the original Community Empowerment Bill was first published, an Easy Read version accompanied it explaining the whole thing in layman’s terms. This made a huge difference to those who accessed the ensuing consultations. The consultation on the asset transfer part of the Act has recently been given the easy read treatment. Not to underestimate the scale of the job, but other parts of the Act will need the same if communities are to fully understand what’s on offer.
Community ownership or control of land and buildings can make a major contribution to empowering communities. It helps to provide stability and a sustainable base from which a community organisation can develop its activities, and can create a stronger sense of community identity, cohesion and involvement.
Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides a right for community bodies to request the transfer of land and buildings belonging to public authorities. The Act sets out a framework for the asset transfer scheme and gives the Scottish Ministers powers to make regulations to fill in the detail of the procedures to be followed. This paper seeks views on draft regulations for making and responding to requests, for review or appeal of decisions, and on registers of land. It also provides an indication of guidance and best practice to help relevant authorities develop or update their procedures.
Why We Are Consulting
It is important that we create a system for asset transfer that will work for everyone involved and all types of request. We have worked with a Steering Group of stakeholders with experience of asset transfer, from public authorities and community organisations, to develop these draft regulations. We are now seeking wider views on the proposed procedures from relevant authorities, who will be required to implement them, and community bodies who may wish to use them.