The Community Empowerment Act 2015 introduced rights for community groups to make asset transfer to communities a more attainable option. Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is a process that allows a community organisation to take over publicly-owned land or buildings in a way that recognises the public benefits that transfer will bring. The Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act, implemented in 2017, has defined a legal process for asset transfer, which gave new rights to communities and placed duties on public bodies. 

The Community Ownership Support Service (COSS) is a Scottish Government funded programme set up to help community groups take on assets for their community, giving greater control of land and buildings and to support local authorities and other public bodies to transfer assets in a way that recognises the benefits of working with communities. 

As part of our role, COSS would like to hear the views and experiences of those groups which have considered or embarked on community asset transfer. The results will help COSS inform national working groups evaluating the Community Empowerment Act and how it is implemented.

You may choose to give your views in confidence if you prefer. Please indicate whether you’d be willing to be contacted to take part in a telephone or group interview to discuss your answers further.

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* 1. Please provide the name of the group and public authority involved in the CAT

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* 2. How aware are you or the community you represent of the rights for communities to seek the management, lease or ownership of publicly owned land or buildings contained in Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015?

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* 3. Have you or the group you represent sought to apply these rights by contacting the public authority in question?

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* 4. How easy was it to find information on the public body's CAT process on their website?

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* 5. Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 provides you with the right to seek information important to your CAT prior to submitting an application (e.g. running costs, condition survey etc.).

Do you feel that the public authority made all reasonable effort to provide you with the information you needed?

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* 6. Which of the following best represents your group's current position?
('CAT request' same as 'Asset Transfer Request')

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* 7. Which of the following did or has your group expressed preference for? (Tick all that apply)

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* 8. Your full rights under Part 5 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 do not come into effect until you receive a Validation Notice which sets out the time frame for decision on your CAT and explains the prohibition on disposal and right of Review/Appeal etc.

Which of the following best describes your experience of the validation stage?

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* 9. How would you describe working with the public sector landlord/owner following the submission of your CAT in your own words? (You may wish to consider ease, transparency, balance of effort etc.)

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* 10. Submitting a CAT is a complex process, please indicate whether support was needed and available for each of the following?

  Support not needed Support needed but not sought Support needed but not available Support needed and available
Community engagement
Funding of acquisition
Asset development funding (after transfer)
Options appraisal or feasibility study
Technical design work or building/land condition survey
Business planning (prior to transfer)
Valuation of land or buildings
Advice on governance issues
Legal issues (e.g. negotiating leases)
Revenue funding (after transfer)

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* 11. If you accessed support from the any of the following services/agencies, how useful was it in helping you to progress your CAT request? (If not accessed, tick not applicable)

  Not at all Somewhat useful Very useful Extremely useful Not applicable
The public sector landlord/owner
Community Ownership Support Service (COSS)
Third Sector Interface/Council for Voluntary Service
Other local groups (e.g. community development trust)
Alternative intermediary body (e.g. sports or heritage body)
A funder

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* 12. Part 5 of the Community Empowerment Act gives groups rights to seek a review of a decision made by a Local Authority or Appeal to Scottish Ministers. Have you used any of the following rights? (If not, please skip)

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* 13. Do you think CAT under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 has succeeded in helping you achieve benefits for your community?

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* 14. In your own words, please describe your experience of the CAT process and leave any comments/suggestions for how it could be improved (You may wish to consider areas where support was not available/useful etc.).

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* 15. If you would be willing to take part in a short interview or focus group on your CAT experience, please leave your contact details below (Otherwise please skip).

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