Number of assets in community ownership
(showing types of area available in these data)
Note: These may be large files.
The data on community ownership are sourced from the official statistics publication Community Ownership in Scotland.
The first publication in this series, Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland 2017, was published in December 2017 with revised data for 2017 released in December 2018. This was intended to track progress towards a target of there being one million acres of land in community ownership in Scotland by the end of 2020.
Following the recommendation of the Scottish Land Commission concerning how to encourage and facilitate community ownership, a National Indicator on Community Ownership was created, using the number of assets in community ownership. This moved away from the previous million acre target and was reflected in the name of the next publication Community Ownership in Scotland 2018 published in December 2019 in which area was reported in hectares. This provided the first figure for the new National Indicator on community ownership. The most recent publication Community Ownership in Scotland 2019 was published in September 2020.
As there is currently no definitive source of assets in community ownership, the data for this publication comes from variety of organisations involved in community asset ownership. For the most recent publication they are:
As additional sources are identified they will be added to this list.
The data from these sources are matched against the Land Register by the Registers of Scotland.
In relation to measuring progress towards the one million acre target the following definitions were agreed upon and have been used in all community ownership publications:
1) Community is defined on a geographical basis, which can be defined by postcode units and/or a prescribed area. This definition of community has been chosen to reflect the importance of place, reflected within current Scottish Government policy and current legislation as well as the implicit objectives of the one million acre target.
2) A relevant community body is required to have a number of essential characteristics, which collectively ensure that community owned assets are used for the benefit of the wider community rather than one particular interest group. The community body should:
3) Ownership is defined in the legal sense: A legal title coupled with exclusive legal right to possession. While it is acknowledged that communities can and do lease (i.e. from the Forestry and Land Scotland), manage and jointly own (i.e. Equity stake) assets, it was agreed that for the purposes of the target the definition should be restricted to outright ownership.
4) The term asset is used to describe areas of land, buildings and anything else of substantial value a community group may own. This is to reflect that is it not just areas of land that can bring benefits to a community and reflects the diverse nature of community ownership.
An asset is counted where it is the subject of a single transaction. Where assets are acquired in a series of transactions, e.g. adjacent areas of land acquired over time, the assets in each transaction will be counted separately.
5) Transfer date is the date at which a community group took ownership of an asset, either by purchase or as a gift, legacy or other non-monetary transaction.
Further details of the development of the Community Ownership in Scotland publication is available in the accompanying Methodology document.
This dataset does not contain any sensitive or personal information.
Following the collection of data on community ownership, the data are cleaned and quality assured by Scottish Government statisticians. The quality assurance procedure involves:
The cleaned data are then sent to Registers of Scotland who verify it against the Land Register and provide the corresponding title numbers. Please note that the Land Register was introduced in 1981 as a replacement for the paper-based and less accessible Sasines register, and initially was not used for the whole of Scotland. Therefore assets which were acquired many years ago may not appear on the Land Register and in these cases the information provided cannot be verified.
The initial database used to produce the Estimate of Community Owned Land in Scotland 2017 publication had a number of issues. It was compiled by collecting data from a wide range of organisations involved in community land ownership. This approach was taken as it is not possible to identify community groups that own assets from existing registers.
In order to address these issues and improve the quality of the data held on community ownership, a survey of all the community groups, known to the Scottish Government, to own assets was carried out from November 2017 to February 2018. The results of this survey were used to produce the revised figures published in December 2018.
For the publication Community Ownership in Scotland 2018 and subsequent publications the data collected on assets that are either purchased by community groups or are transferred to them has been verified against the Land Register, enabling the correction of data or filling in any missing data.
It is acknowledged that there will potentially be a number of assets in community ownership (especially smaller assets and those that have not received public funding, for example those bequeathed as legacies) that are not known to the Scottish Government. Therefore, these assets and any area associated with them will not be included in the published figures on community ownership. This will result in an underestimate, which cannot be quantified, in the number of assets in community ownership.
When the initial estimates on community ownership were published in December 2017 the date of purchase or transfer of around a fifth of the assets was unknown. When the year of purchase or transfer was unknown it was defaulted to 1990, the start of the series.
For the most recent publication in September 2020, 4% of assets had an unknown year of purchase or transfer and for 6% this was before 2000. For both these categories the year was defaulted to 2000, reflecting that most of the increase in community ownership had occurred since then. This means that community ownership comparisons over time should be made with caution.
The Community Ownership in Scotland publications are published as HTML and PDF. The accompanying tables and charts are published in Excel and pdf format.
The publications can be accessed at [Community Ownership in Scotland] (https://www.gov.scot/collections/community-ownership-in-scotland/).
The Community Ownership in Scotland publications are the primary data source on community ownership in Scotland. It informs the National Indicator on Community Ownership.
Following the publication of the initial estimates on community ownership for 2017, in December 2017, revised figures for the complete calendar year 2017 were released in December 2018. Figures for the calendar year 2018 were published in December 2019 and for the calendar year 2019 in September 2020. It is expected that figures for the given calendar year will be released in September of the following year. For example, the data for the calendar year 2020 will be released in September 2021.
Revisions to the data on community ownership will be made when community owned assets not previously included in the database are made known to the Scottish Government or revised data are supplied. If any errors in the previously published data are identified they will also be corrected when the next edition of Community Ownership in Scotland is released.
Where revisions are required to the data on community ownership they will detailed in the relevant edition of the Community Ownership in Scotland..
The survey of community groups known to own assets undertaken following the publication of the initial estimates on community ownership in December 2017 was part of the on-going data improvement plan. As a result the revisions between the first estimate for 2017 and the updated figures for 2017, published in December 2018, were greater than would normally be expected. Due to the on-going improvement plan the data quality was further improved via the matching with Registers of Scotland records. As a result, the data that was published in December 2019 was substantially revised compared to the previously released data. Furthermore, due to additional data quality issues found following the December 2019 publication, the publication in September 2020 contains further revisions. The revised data will however more accurately reflect community ownership in Scotland.
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