Common good property: statutory guidance for local authorities

News story posted: 03/08/2018

Bench in a public parkScottish Government has published common good property guidance for local authorities.


The guidance sets the framework for how local authorities should carry out the new legal duties brought in by Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.


As statutory consultees, community councils have an important role to play in ensuring that local communities are aware of common good property in their area, and can contribute to the process of developing the common good register.


Common good is property owned by a local authority which has been passed down, through local government reorganisation, from former burghs. Those burghs would have received it as a gift or purchased it. It includes land and buildings, and moveable items such as furniture and art. It may include cash where property has been sold and income received.


As part of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015, the Act imposed duties on local authorities in relation to common good property. Sections 103 and 105 of the Act require local authorities to have regard to any guidance issued by Scottish Ministers in relation to those duties. This the document just published by Scottish Government provides such guidance.


Other new duties on local authorities in relation to common good property are:


  • To establish and maintain a register of property which is held by the authority as part of the common good.
  • Before taking any decision to dispose of, or change the use of, such [common good] property the local authority must publish details about the proposed disposal or, as the case may be, the use to which the authority proposes to put the property.”


The use or disposal of an item of common good property can be subject to conditions imposed by those who gifted or sold the property. In some cases, whether or not a property can be sold may have to be decided by the courts.


Part 8 of the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 seeks to increase transparency about the existence of common good assets and to ensure there is community involvement in decisions taken about their identification, use and disposal.


Part 8 of the Act does not define or redefine common good or remove or alter any restrictions on the use or disposal of common good property.


Download the guidance for local authorities here:


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