The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 enables community organisations to request the ownership, lease or management of publicly owned buildings or land, whether or not these are available for sale or deemed surplus to requirements. This request is known under the Act as a Community Asset Transfer (CAT).
To be eligible to apply for a CAT organisations need to meet the following criteria:
- Be a community controlled body with a minimum membership of 20 people
- Members of the controlled body must be resident in the area where the asset base is
- A Scottish charitable incorporated organisation (SCIO) with a constitution
- A community based benefit society or a company limited by guarantee
- Be able to provide details/evidence of demand for the services the organisation will deliver
For more information, a copy of the application form and guidance for community organisations interested in managing a community asset (please note the guidance will be regularly updated as further information becomes available from the Scottish Government), please visit Fife Council’s website.
What is the Community Empowerment Act?
The Community Empowerment Act will help to empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings, and by strengthening their voices in the decisions that matter to them. It will also improve outcomes for communities by improving the process of community planning, ensuring that local service providers work together even more closely with communities to meet the needs of the people who use them.
The Bill was passed by the Scottish Parliament on 17 June 2015 and received Royal Assent, becoming an Act, on 24 July.
The Act does a number of things including: extending the community right to buy, making it simpler for communities to take over public sector land and buildings, and strengthening the statutory base for community planning. Crucially it can help empower community bodies through the ownership of land and buildings and strengthening their voices in the decisions and services that matter to them. Links to the Act and to documents relating to the progress of the Bill, can be found here.