It should be noted that Scots Law and English Law differ and that some of the resources used may be based on English Law.  We have, however, included some English resources as a useful guide, for example, because company law is largely UK-wide eg the "Simply Legal" booklet.  (Please note that the law on companies and co-operatives has since been updated - see the amended legal structures document).  The links in the "Factsheets and Tools" section, below are entirely Scots Law based.

COSS Publications

Profiting from Creativity

Exploring ways to bring creative industries in to the sustainabilty mix for community venues.
By Community Ownership Support Service, in association with Voluntary Arts Scotland.
PDF icon ProfitingfromCreativity.pdf

Sustainable New Uses for Old Buildings

Introductory guide examining the opportunities and challenges involved with taking former civic buildings into community ownership.
PDF icon Sustainable New Uses For Old Buildings - print version

Beyond the Usual Suspects

Fundraising for the development and ongoing management of your community asset will be a key part of your early planning. If you haven’t done it before it can seem daunting. This guide aims to help you to establish a funding package which encourages the inclusion and involvement of your community and develops a sense of local ownership.

Please be aware that since this guide was produced fundraising regulation has been subject to considerable change and fundraisers and boards/committees must keep themselves up to date with regulatory requirements in all areas of fundraising.  A big change is to require charities to assess and make judgements on the mental capacity and potential vulnerability of donors.  Please refer to the Fundraising Regulator website for more information.  

PDF icon Beyond the Usual Suspects: An introduction to a range of alternative approaches to raising finance and fundraising

Involving Your Community

A practical guide to the benefits and techniques for involving and consulting local communities in community asset based projects.

PDF icon Involving Your Community (COSS)

Community Ownership in Scotland - A Baseline Study

Through this study, Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) has sought to establish the current scale and nature of community ownership of assets across Scotland. The research was conducted by DTAS’ Community Ownership Support Service (COSS). 

PDF icon Community Ownership in Scotland - A Baseline Study

Getting Started

Skills Self-Assessment Framework

This self-assessment framework covers a range of skills that a community organisation will require to successfully take on and develop an asset for their community. 

Microsoft Office document icon Skills Self-Assessment Framework

Negotiated Sales Route Map

Negotiated sales of privately owned land and buildings.
PDF icon Negotiated sale route map.pdf

To Have and To Hold

A comprehensive and useful guide to asset development for community and social enterprises, but useful for Local Authorities too.

Produced by the Development Trusts Association (DTA).

PDF icon To Have and To Hold

Community Right to Buy Route Map

A Community Right to Buy (CRtB) is a pre-emptive right to buy land (or property) for communities throughout Scotland under Part 2 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003. It provides for those communities, who successfully register a community interest in land, to have the frst option to buy when the registered land is offered for sale.
PDF icon Community Right to buy.pdf

Pillars of the Community: the transfer of Local Authority Heritage Assets

Some helpful tips if you are looking to take on a heritage building

PDF icon Pillars of the Community

Asset Transfer Route Map

This new PDF has been developed by Community Ownership Support Service (COSS). It is used by COSS advisors to identify where you are in the process, as laid down in Part 5; Asset Transfer, in the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015. It helps to guide you through the steps along the way to achieving your goals.  Side one of the poster shows the four phases of the asset transfer process and signposts each phase of the journey.  Side two gives more detail and links to relevant information for each phase.

PDF icon Asset transfer route map web.pdf

Managing Risks in Asset Transfer

Very useful guide that can be used to meet the concerns of both local authorities and communities

PDF icon Managing Risks in Asset Transfer


Keystone is a quality award scheme that gives information and support to people who run village halls and community buildings. It will help you to make sense of legislation and regulation and put systems in place to keep things running smoothly allowing you to concentrate on providing the best facilities possible.

PDF icon Keystone

Scotland Community Gardens Starter Pack

If your group is looking to take on property to develop a growing project or community garden, The Federation of City Farms and Community Gardens has published a Community Gardens Starter Pack specifically for Scottish groups. It can be downloaded below.

PDF icon Scotland Community Gardens Starter Pack

Common Good - A Quick Guide

Properly accounted for and properly managed, Scotland’s Common Good can be used to revitalise communities.

Read this Quick Guide and join the campaign to identify, document and restore your common heritage.

PDF icon Common Good - A Quick Guide

Guide for Landowners by the Community Land Advisory Service

A guide for public and private landowners considering use of their land for community growing. 

PDF icon Guide for Landowners

Asset Transfer Guidance for Community Transfer Bodies

This guidance has been developed for both relevant authorities and community bodies.  Relevant authorities are required to have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers in carrying out their functions in relation to asset transfer.

There is more guidance for community transfer bodies on completing the request form, and more for relevant authorities on the acknowledgement and notices they have to issue following receipt of a request.

PDF icon Asset Transfer CTB Guidance Notes.pdf

Participation Requests Guidance Notes

Part 3 of the Act 2015 on Participation Requests is focussed on extending and improving community participation in improving outcomes for their communities. It is the legislation that enables communities to request to participate in decisions and processes which are aimed at improving outcomes.

File Participation Requests Guidance.docx

Crofting Community Right to Buy route map

The Crofting Community Right to Buy (CCRtB) in Part 3 of the Land Reform (Scotland) Act 2003 (“the Act”) creates a setting in which a Crofting Community Body (CCB), representing an identifed crofting community, may acquire eligible croft land (including "fshing rights and / or mineral rights (except mineral rights to oil, coal, gas, gold or silver))
PDF icon Crofting Community Right to buy.pdf

Planning and Designing Your Project

Property Title Checklist for Community Organisations

It is recommended that those buying any property have the title examined by a qualified legal professional. This document is a non-exhaustive list of some of the things they should look into on your behalf. As the client you should be aware of them, ensure they have been checked over and take into account any implications of the findings.

File Property Title Checklist for Community Organisations

GCA Building Design Framework

This document sets out the main factors that contribute to sustainable building design.

PDF icon GCA Building Design Framework

RIBA Work Stages

The stages of work for a construction project proposed by the Royal Institute of British Architects

Microsoft Office document icon RIBA Work Stages

Feasibility Studies: A Guide to Good Practice

This good practice note is about how to tackle a Feasibility Study and is for the information of both community groups, acting as client, and their consultants.

PDF icon Feasibility Studies: A Guide to Good Practice (RIAS)

Project Make or Break Questions

The initial assessment for a project should at a minimum research and answer these Project Make or Break Questions

Microsoft Office document icon project-make-or-break.doc

A Handbook of Public & Stakeholder Engagement

The purpose of this handbook from Dialogue by Design is to help those charged with public and stakeholder engagement to do it better

PDF icon A Handbook of Public & Stakeholder Engagement (Dialogue by Design)

Example Site Options Appraisal: Lochend & Restalrig

Lochend and Restalrig Community set out to identify sites which would be suitable for the development of a community growing project.

PDF icon Scottish Planning = Effective Engagement and Delivery - Practical Guide to Engagement in Planning.pdf

Example Site Options Appraisal: PEDAL

A detailed site options appraisal undertaken by PEDAL for a 'Transition Hub' community space.

PDF icon Example Site Options Appraisal: PEDAL

Example Site Options Appraisal: Community Growing Spaces

A sample site options appraisal for the development of community growing spaces

PDF icon Example Site Options Appraisal: Community Growing Spaces (COSS)

Your Buildings, Your Future

A guide to commissioning sustainable architecture for community organisations.

By Matt Bridgestock

PDF icon Your Buildings, Your Future

The Green Asset Guide

Although this needs to be read in the light of the ever-changing green industry, it is still a really useful guide with logical and comprehensive consideration of  aspects of renewable design.

Produced by the Development Trusts Association

PDF icon The Green Asset Guide

Evidence from Elsewhere: Gathering, analysing and using other people's evidence

Written by the Knowledge Translation Network 'Evidence from Elsewhere: Gathering, analysing and using other people's evidence' guides anyone in the third sector who wants to use secondary evidence to inform, influence and improve policy or practice, or both, through the process of using secondary evidence.

Using other people’s evidence can be useful to fill gaps in your evidence or to help make a case for a new service or project.



PDF icon evidencefromelsewhere-web.pdf

Making Buildings Work for your Community

Informative and readable guide to what to think about when looking at refurbishment for community use.

Produced by the Asset Transfer Unit

PDF icon Making Buildings Work for your Community

Planning for Community Developments

A guide to the Scottish planning system for community led developments

PDF icon Planning for Community Developments

Building/Landscape Design Brief

An outline of what should be included in a design brief.

Microsoft Office document icon Building/Landscape Design Brief

Speaking Volumes leaflet

This leaflet from the Carnegie UK Trust sets out the range of ways in which public libraries can affect the wellbeing of individuals and communities, and how libraries are relevant to four main policy areas: social, economic, cultural and education policy.

It is available on the linked page in two versions - as a leaflet and a fold-out poster.

Organisation and Staff

ACEVO Legal Structures for Social Enterprise (amended and updated)

Useful crib sheet as an introduction to the various structures - a rough guide

File Legal Structures (Amended).xlsx

Simply Governance

A comprehensive guide to understanding the systems and processes concerned with the running of a sustainable community enterprise.

PDF icon Simply Governance

Simply Legal

All you need to know about legal forms and organisational types for community enterprises.

PDF icon Simply Legal

Brief Guide to Employing People

This brief guide has been developed as part of DTA Scotland's ongoing support to Governing Bodies of member organisations. Its purpose is to provide a light read which highlights the main areas of importance to watch out for when employing people.

PDF icon Brief Guide to Employing People

Note on TUPE Transfers

The purpose of TUPE is to protect the rights and preserve the contracts of employment of staff where an organisation (or part) or contract to provide services (or part) transfers. 

Microsoft Office document icon Note on TUPE Transfers


Finance Hub VAT Briefing

This briefing explains the most important rules governing VAT on partnerships. It then explains how to make sure that your partnership operates within those rules.

PDF icon Finance Hub VAT Briefing

Community Buildings and Taxation

This Information Sheet is somewhat out of date, however, contains useful information on corporation tax, income tax, gift aid, employees’ tax and national insurance and value added tax.  (Rates have changed and the stamp duty provisions should be ignored.)

PDF icon Community Buildings and Taxation (Community Matters)

Trading and Community Associations

This information sheet is particularly related to trading on the part of Community Associations, including fundraising events, profits from letting, lotteries, sale of donated goods, donations, business sponsorship, etc.

PDF icon Trading and Community Associations (Community Matters)

Applying for your project overheads

Useful guidance notes on full cost recovery with excel worksheets

PDF icon Applying for your project overheads - Big Lottery

Protecting Public Investments - Clawback

HMT Guidance - explains the implications of “clawback”

PDF icon Protecting Public Investments - Clawback

Investing in Your Community

Investing in Your Community, a guide to managing community funds, by Highlands and Islands Enterprise

PDF icon Investing in Your Community

Community Asset Transfer at Discounted Value

This note aims to brief community groups so they are in an informed position to argue the case for discounted value asset transfers from local authorities, and to assist local authorities with any required internal processes.

PDF icon Community Asset Transfer at Discounted Value - Briefing Note

Simply Finance

A comprehensive guide to the different options for financing a community enterprise.

PDF icon Simply Finance

Policy and Research

Communities controlling assets: a better understanding

This report contains the findings from research commissioned by the Joseph Rowntree Foundation on the experience of community organisations controlling assets in the UK.

PDF icon Communities controlling assets: a better understanding (Joseph Rowntree Foundation)

The Christie Commission - Future Delivery of Public Services

In contrast to previous work concentrating on specific aspects of public service reform, this Commission was asked to look across the whole field of public service delivery, and examine the challenges, obstacles and opportunities that lie before us. On this basis, the commission were asked to map out a way forward for the reform of public services.  This included recommentations that recognise "effective services must be designed with and for people and communities – not delivered ‘top down’ for administrative convenience."

PDF icon Chrsitie Commission.pdf

Advancing Assets for Communities Year Two - Asset Transfer Unit

People, Places and Partnerships - the Development Trusts Association's second annual review into the progress of participants in the Advancing Assets for Communities demonstration programme. 

PDF icon Advancing Assets for Communities Year Two - Asset Transfer Unit

Asset management in local government: Audit Scotland

This study evaluates the extent to which councils manage their assets to ensure effective service provision and achieve value for money, and makes recommendations for improvement. 

PDF icon Asset management in local government: Audit Scotland

Community Right to Buy - Guidance - March 2016

Full guidance for community bodies, land owners and third parties.

Published by The Scottish Government, March 2016.

PDF icon Crtb guidance.pdf

Public Asset Transfer: Empowering Communities

A review of Council policy and practice in relation to asset transfer across Scotland

PDF icon Public Asset Transfer: Empowering Communities (DTA Scotland)

Asset Transfer Guidance for Relevant Authorities

This guidance has been developed for relevant authorities.  Relevant authorities are required to have regard to guidance issued by the Scottish Ministers in carrying out their functions in relation to asset transfer.

PDF icon Asset Transfer RA Guidance Notes.pdf

DTAS-COSS GDPR Privacy Notice

GDPR Privacy Notice reffering to the personal details we hold on clients for Scottish Government reporting purposes and how we process this.


Promoting Asset Transfer - Project 2009-2011 – Final Report

The final report on DTA Scotland's Promoting Asset Transfer programme

PDF icon Promoting Asset Transfer - Final Report

Disposal of Land by Local Authorities (Scotland) Regulations

The purpose of this guidance is to provide local authorities in Scotland with information that will assist when considering the disposal of land

PDF icon Disposal of Land by Local Authorities (Scotland) Regulations: General Guidance

Creative Communities - Realising Opportunities for Local Enterprise

COSS advisors Nicky Donald and Tom Black delivered this workshop at the Gathering on 29 February 2012. 

PDF icon Creative Communities Workshop at the Gathering

Funding Information - Green Buildings

An information sheet listing the different funding available for energy efficiency improvements to community buildings.

PDF icon Funding Information for Community Buildings

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015

The detail of the Act in full.  This should be used to relate the Asset Transfer Guidance Notes from the Scottish Government to the specific sections referred to within the Act.
PDF icon CEA in full.pdf

Energising Community Halls

REAP's community energy guide "Energising Community Halls" can help your community building save money and look at what renewables might be suitable for your site. This guide is the result of a year-long CCF funded project by REAP based in Keith, Moray.

PDF icon Energising Community Halls

Community Empowerment Action Plan

The Community Empowerment Action Plan, jointly developed by the Scottish Government, COSLA and colleagues in the third sector, encourages people in both rural and urban areas to participate in the running of their neighbourhoods. The action plan provides clarity on what community empowerment is, why it is important and how communities can get involved.

PDF icon Community Empowerment Action Plan (Scottish Government and COSLA)

Fact Sheets and Tools

Lease and Property Transaction Glossary

A glossary of lease and property transaction terms

PDF icon Lease and Property Transaction Glossary

Community Asset Transfer Lease - Viewpoints

Asset transfer considerations for the grant of a lease to a community body.

Microsoft Office document icon 12__viewpoints.doc

Assessing Best Value Table

Downloadable version of the 7 government guidances to Assesing Best Value.

File Assessing Best Value Table.xlsx

Community Ownership of Woodlands

Community woodlands are growing and thriving in Scotland, with over 200 communities across the country engaged in owning or managing woodlands. This fact sheet aims to highlight the steps required for communities to own and manage their own woodland.
PDF icon 0066_DTAS_Factsheet_Community_Woods.pdf

Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015 Asset Transfer Flowchart

A flowchart to guide you through the asset transfer process from relevant authority to community body under the Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015.

PDF icon flowchart feb 2016.pdf

Scottish Universities Land Unit

The Scottish University Land Unit (SULU) has been set up to encourage law students across Scotland to take an active interest in land reform, community empowerment, and community rights in respect of land; and, working in partnership with the Development Trusts Association Scotland (DTAS) and the Community Ownership Support Service (COSS), to provide practical support to community bodies looking to exercise these rights.

PDF icon SULU - HoTs final December 2017.pdf

Standard Security Factsheet

Standard securities are sometimes used by those transferring a property, or those funding the purchase or development of the property. This Standard Security Factsheet explains standard securities and how they work.

File Standard Security Factsheet

COMMUNITY ASSET TRANSFERS - Scottish FA Club Services - Your club. Your home. Your community.

The Scottish FA guide to Community Asset Transfers is aimed at football clubs across Scotland who are either considering or in the process of negotiating a change in the way they manage and secure facilities in their local community.

PDF icon 5264-SFA Asset Transfer doc Final March 17 WR3.pdf

Lease Provisions and Potential Impact

This document highlights lease provisions which existing projects have identified as having significant impact on the viability and sustainability of their project and their ability to use the assets to benefit their communities.

Microsoft Office document icon Lease Provisions and Potential Impact.doc

RICS Small Business Lease: Guidance for Tenants

The purpose of this guide is to help tenants of the RICS Small Business Retail Lease (Scotland) understand some of the terms included.

PDF icon RICS Small Business Lease: Guidance for Tenants

RICS Small Business Lease: Form

A fillable form for the RICS Small Business Lease

PDF icon RICS Small Business Lease: Form

Community Ownership of Piers, Slipways and Harbours

This information sheet has been prepared by the Community Ownership Support Service in conjunction with the Tobermory Harbour Association. It is designed to provide community groups with guidance to enable them to make informed decisions on the viability of marine assets.

PDF icon Community Ownership of Piers, Slipways and Harbours

Heads of Terms

Table listing the standard "heads of terms" for a lease agreement, with explanatory notes. Once agreed, this is used as the basis for instructing lawyers to prepare an agreement for completion.

Microsoft Office document icon Heads of Terms.doc

Case Studies

Uig Community Shop Case Study

Download the Uig Community Shop case study

PDF icon Uig Community Shop Case Study

Harbour Café, Tayport, Case Study

Download the Tayport Community Café case study:

PDF icon Harbour Café, Tayport, Case Study

Neilston Development Trust - Town Charter

This report describes and illustrates the process of creating a charter for Scotland’s first renaissance town. The town charter was created by the people of Neilston, for the people of Neilston. It illustrates their 20-year vision for the village.

PDF icon neilston town charter.pdf

Aberfeldy Town Hall Case Study

Download the Aberfeldy Town Hall case study

PDF icon Aberfeldy Town Hall Case Study

Knoydart Foundation Case Study

Download the Knoydart Foundation case study

PDF icon Knoydart Foundation Case Study


The Planning Journey: 10 Junctions A Town Planners Perspective

This guide seeks to help you think creatively about how to engage in the planning process. It looks at real circumstances or possible examples which may help communities think of alternative ways to be involved in the planning process, to secure benefits through development which may not otherwise be available to them.
In this webinar, Sheila Hobbs, Planning Director from Scott Hobbs Planning discusses different strategies to provide solutions to problems faced throughout the planning process.
PDF icon DTAS 10 Junctions_4.pdf

Public Toilets – The real cost of spending a penny

This publication has been produced in response to the concern about the closure of public toilets across the country and the awareness of the need for good public toilets to promote health, access and inclusion. Increasingly communities are looking at how they can become involved in saving or providing public toilets, so here we present some facts and examples of how other communities have gone about saving this service.

Below you will also find the accompanying webinar, delivered by Sandra Macaskill of CaskieCo, who has researched and written the publication for the Community Ownership Support Service, this webinar will draw on the experiences from urban and rural communities, discuss the issues to be considered and highlights some of the innovative approaches being taken. 

PDF icon Public Toilet Publication Final.pdf