Northern Ireland government departments and their executive agencies; non-departmental public bodies and the Education Authority are required to advise the Central Advisory Unit (CAU) of the Land & Property Services (Valuation) of all lands and property which they declare surplus.
The CAU then circulates details of these assets to other Agencies including Councils. While the DOE Local Government Circular LG03/06 dated 1st June 2006 suggested a reciprocal notification by Councils, this was not made compulsory for Councils to automatically offer surplus land or property to the Public Sector by approaching the “public sector clearing house” through the CAU.
Land and Property Services Central Advisory Unit have produced advice on the Disposal of Surplus Public Sector Property in Northern Ireland, March 2013. The Northern Ireland Audit Office have advised that this is the best practice for councils and councils are strongly encouraged to follow it.
“Property centres and accounting officers should not normally depart from the guidance unless there is a very good reason to do so,” and that “compliance with these guidelines can be important in the context of a judicial review or an investigation.