Consultation Paper on Long Leases (Scotland) Bill PDF

longleases_consult_mar2010 PDF

Q &A  on Common Good Fund

Common Good Fund

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it is appropriate for councillors to be involved in determining a planning application that will result in financial benefit to the common good fund managed by those councillors.

(S3W-31277)

John Swinney: It is not inappropriate for a local authority to have an interest in a development, and also to make a decision on a planning application for that development. However, any conflict of interests that might arise from having this dual role must not influence the authority’s handling or planning decision. Further advice can be found in Planning Advice Note (PAN) 82: Local authority Interest Developments.

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive what guidance there is on the management of common good funds.

(S3W-31278)

John Swinney: Statutory guidance exists through the Local Government (Scotland) Acts of 1973 and 1994. There are also accounting guidelines set out in the Local Authorities Scotland Accounts Advisory Committee (LASAAC) document Accounting for the Common Good: A Guidance Note for Practitioners which was revised in December 2007. In addition, the Scottish Government wrote to all local authorities in 2007 to remind them of their responsibilities under accounting codes of practice, best value guidance grant conditions and statute in respect of their management of common good funds and assets.

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether a consultation process with community councils or other local organisations is necessary prior to the allocation of common good funds.

(S3W-31279)

John Swinney: Section 222 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 states that local authorities “should have regard to the interests of the inhabitants of the area to which the common good formerly related”. How local authorities choose to fulfil this obligation is a matter for them to decide.

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive what the eligibility criteria are for the allocation of common good funds.

(S3W-31280)

John Swinney: It is the responsibility of local authorities to manage their common good assets and funds in accordance with current statutory and non statutory requirements as set out in the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973. Local authorities are required to manage assets held for the common good according to sound asset management principles and in accordance with proper accounting practice.

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive in what circumstances common good funds can be used to repay local authority debt.

(S3W-31281)

John Swinney: Section 93 of the Local Government (Scotland) Act 1973 states that any sums payable or received which relate to the common good shall not be paid into the general fund. Specific guidance on the financial accounting of common goods assets has also been published by the Local Authorities (Scotland) Accounts Advisory Committee in 2007.

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive whether it will list the common good funds, including land and property, managed by each local authority.

(S3W-31282)

Mary Scanlon (Highlands and Islands) (Con): To ask the Scottish Executive how much (a) money, (b) property and (c) land is in the common good fund of each local authority.

(S3W-31283)

John Swinney: This information is not held centrally. All common good assets which are held by local authorities are accountable within the audited accounts of each local authority which are accessible by law to any member of the public.

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