The Scout Association Trust Corporation
What is the SATC?
The SATC was created in 1935 as a company limited by guarantee and authorised to hold title to land on behalf of The Scout Association’s Scout units (i.e. Groups, Districts and Counties). Although the SATC was initiated by The Scout Association and continues to be supported by it (being housed within the association's Legal Services Department), the SATC is not owned by the Association and has its own separate Board of Management. The SATC holds title to freehold and leasehold interests in land as ‘Custodian Trustee’ on behalf of Scout Units, which means that it has an important but also limited role as it cannot, by law, have any responsibility for the managing the Scout Unit or it's land. This remains the responsibility of the Unit’s Executive Committee i.e. the ‘Managing’ or ‘Charity’ Trustees.
What does the SATC do?
The SATC provides a service which benefits both Scout Units as well as those individuals acting as the local Executive Committee/Charity trustees. It's important to note the legal advisor acting for SATC is unable to also act for the Scout Unit. Therefore, where required, Scout Units will need to consider appointing their own local solicitor to oversee transactions.
Although it’s not a comprehensive list of all issues that may arise, the following represents work undertaken by the SATC in most matters:
- taking initial request from the Unit, opening correspondence and advising on the role/procedure of the SATC and applicable charity law
- ensuring that decisions affecting land are made in accordance with charity/trustee law reading relevant documents, such as leases, conveyance or plans and highlighting issues that may be of concern to SATC. Any negotiations necessary will need to be carried out by the Scout Unit itself or a solicitor instructed by it
- preparing and placing the matter before the SATC Board for acceptance and approval
- corresponding with necessary parties, including any solicitor instructed by the Unit
- exchanging and amending draft documentation and ensuring compliance with charity law and the inclusion of standard SATC clauses
- checking and completing matters by signing/sealing documents on behalf of the Unit
- providing secure, centralised storage of conveyances, leases and deeds in a dedicated facility, to assist with continuity, regardless of any change to local volunteers/personnel providing letters of support/Confirmation to external funding authorities.
The Legal Work SATC undertakes which helps you:
- Ensuring a property is held on trust by SATC and the required provisions are included in the documentation.
- Ensuring transactions are compliant with charity law.
- Liaising with the Unit's appointed local solicitors on the Trust Corporation's formalities and ensuring charity law compliance in connection with the sale of a Scout property.
- Assisting with straightforward property documents which require the Trust Corporation to be a party, e.g. a surrender of a lease or a deed to vary the terms of a lease.
The Legal Work where SATC cannot advise:
- buying or leasing any property and any negotiations
- advising regarding any liabilities
- undertaking any conveyancing on your behalf
- negotiating rent or repair covenants with landlords
- advising regarding any property disputes
- conveyancing of a property or registration of title.
As Custodian Trustee:
- We hold the title.
- We do not get involved in the day to day management.
- We assist in making sure that any transactions involving SATC are compliant.
What are the benefits of using the SATC?
The SATC serves some essential functions for Scout Units.
It offers an easy and accessible alternative to help Units retain their interest in their land. As Units are created as unincorporated charities, and not established as companies, they are unable to hold property in their name. Units must appoint trustees to do this on their behalf. Trustees can be either local individuals or a company like the SATC.
If Units appoint local individuals, they are referred to as 'Holding Trustees' and Units will need to appoint at least two (and no more than four). It is recommended that Holding Trustees, who will be cited as parties in any land transaction, are not members of the Executive Committee of the Unit.
Holding Trustees will be entitled to be indemnified by the Unit against any liabilities arising, such as unpaid rents or repairs. Units often find it challenging to find and appoint local Holding Trustees.
When Units lose a locally appointed Holding Trustee, they can face prolonged and expensive administrative processes to replace them and rectify documents. As the SATC holds title in its company name, Units are not faced with such an administrative burden.
Using the SATC as a trustee
The SATC offers continuity and reassurance to Units with safe, secure and centralised storage of their conveyances, leases and deeds. If documents are retained locally, there is a risk that they may be lost. The SATC offers a centralised system regardless of any changes to local volunteers/personnel.
The Unit retains all management responsibility for running itself and any decisions regarding its land. The SATC's limited role is merely holding title to the land as Custodian Trustee.
As Managing Trustees
- You're responsible for the day to day management of the property.
- You exercise power or direction in respect of the property.
- Are accountable to the Charity Commission as required.
Approximately 95% of Units with land interests appoint the SATC.
The current SATC acceptance fee is £500 +VAT or £450 +VAT (if a Unit’s property/land is insured through Scout Insurance Services Limited).
This represents a very fair contribution towards the costs of the administrative work necessary on any given matter throughout its life, including the safe custody of documents for many years.
The fee is payable each time a Unit appoints the SATC, for example once for each given freehold title but each time a lease is renewedIn addition to the acceptance fee, the SATC also charges standard administration charges for other land transactions that may be necessary, such as granting leases by the Scout Unit, other deeds or agreements, dealing with easements or build agreements, sale of land or the surrender of leases. Fee amounts are available on enquiry, for example once for each given freehold title but each time a lease is renewed. To save costs, the SATC encourages Units to secure as long a term lease as possible, subject to the terms of the Lease being fair. Many of the Leases are for 20 years or more, so a review of your premises either when a new lease is agreed, or a lease renewed is needed to make sure you can comply with your obligations going forward. The SATC questionnaire assists you in this regard.
In addition to the acceptance fee, the SATC also charges standard administration charges for other land transactions that may be necessary, such as granting leases by the Scout Unit, other deeds or agreements, dealing with easements or build agreements, sale of land or the surrender of leases. Fee amounts are available on enquiry.
The SATC fees do not cover negotiating the terms of sales, contracts, leases or similar nor the conveyancing or registration of title of your property. This is because, in its Custodian role, the SATC must remain distinct throughout and cannot represent or act as solicitor for Units. The responsibility for the management of premises or land remains with the Executive Committee, only you will possess the necessary local knowledge to enter into the relevant negotiations. The local solicitors who handle the transaction are better placed to advise, undertake the conveyancing and register the title of the property.
Whenever you are budgeting, do take into account the need for professional services when you need a new lease or when you are our purchasing or disposing of property.
In operating as a charity, the Association is only able to provide limited legal services which are free of charge to its Units through the Scout Association Legal Services Department. As there are approximately 8,500 Scout Units across England and Wales, the Legal Department is not logistically able to enter into negotiations or act as solicitor on behalf of Units or individual members. Accordingly, we are not able to advise you in-depth. Our strength is in giving outline advice, by assessing the complexity of the issues presented and offering possible next steps. Where we can offer no quick resolution, we will signpost you to seek local professional advice.
Where the Scout Association Legal Department are considering any transaction concerning SATC they are acting exclusively for SATC, they, therefore, cannot advise the Scout Group. In such circumstances it is essential you employ your own legal advisors from the outset. In any event, we discourage you from tieing yourself up in red tape, as it is often a false economy. When seeking advice from local professionals, bear in mind that many will discount their services for the Scouts if requested, and some may have a connection with your Scout Group and undertake their services for a minimal charge.
For more information about appointing the SATC please contact us at email@example.com or write to us at:
The Trustees have approved a revised schedule of fees which you can view here.
Some standard procedures required for appointing the SATC: