View from the Sector
Cascading Asset Transfer was a course run by the Asset Transfer Unit and funded through Capacitybuilders Income Generation Workstream, funded by Capacitybuilders and the Asset Transfer Unit.
The aim of the course is to equip workers in VCS infrastructure support organisations with the knowledge to support both VCS groups and local authorities considering or undertaking community asset transfer or asset based development.
‘Assets Ambassadors’ in local infrastructure organis- ations who can recognise and understand asset development opportunities for VCS organisations, can help develop projects and can signpost appropriately and confidently. More confidence and understanding of the process will lead to better quality projects being developed and a network of asset transfer expertise across the country.
The course development has been based on the Asset Transfer Partnership Routemap published in 2010, which uses case studies to map the key stages involved in successful asset transfer. The course will explore each of the crucial stages, helping those who work to support the VCS to understand the role they can play at each stage and to learn and recognise good practice.
What is community asset transfer?
The 2008 Quirk Review identified clear benefits from local groups owning or managing assets; as a means of empowering communities and as an effective way for local government to achieve its goals.
At its simplest, community asset transfer is a process by which the management or ownership of land or buildings in local authority ownership is ‘transferred’ to the voluntary & community sector (VCS). Community ownership can bring together people from different backgrounds. It can foster a sense of belonging. It can play a role in enhancing the local environment, alleviating poverty and raising people’s aspirations. Fundamentally, it’s about giving local people a bigger stake in the future of their community – the ‘Big Society’ in action.
Participants on the Cascading Asset Transfer Course on the issues facing communities around Asset Transfer.
- The tools and resources developed and provided by the Asset Transfer Unit are useful and good.
- Model strategies and policies are particularly useful
- There needs to be more information about where groups can find sources of support.
- Cascading this knowledge amongst both third sector organisations and infrastructure support will be really useful
- There is a huge amount of uncertainty in communities at the moment about the potential future of assets and their own sustainability as organisations.
- There needs to be more support and information on the financial support which may be available to help groups with asset transfer.
- Infrastructure organizations are being asked to make recommendations to their own local authorities so it is useful to be able to have additiona support services through the ATU to refer people to.
- There is a concern that the community won’t have access to “good” assets rather than those which can’t be sold quickly for capital receipts.
- There seems to be a big push coming from local authorities and government for assets to be taken on by third sector groups- decisions may be rushed and viability is a concern.
- Case studies are ALWAYS useful, and those available on www.buildingcommunity.org.uk are a good way of communicating ideas and stories.