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Birmingham City Council – Community Asset Transfer Process

Posted on 9th August 2013 by


Since 2011 there has been a  Cabinet approved  agreed Birmingham CAT Protocol and Way of Working for city council owned assets (buildings and land). This means for Voluntary and Community Groups in Birmingham there is a consistent and transparent pathway  from the initial expression of interest to any agreed point of transfer.

Community Asset Transfer ( CAT) is not an automatic right like some of the recent  ones that have come into legislation ie Community Right to Bid and Community Right to Challenge but based on an individual business case. Please remember  not all buildings are available for CAT.

In Birmingham CAT means …..

  • Transfer of buildings and/ or land
  • Leasehold not freehold – generally on a full repairing lease and up to 25yrs (negotiable)
  • Economic Rent offset by Valuing Worth
  • to bona fide “not for profit” community  organisations (not for commercial profit making purposes but community benefit) eg Charity, CIC , Social Enterprise

A not for profit organisation can be defined as one which uses its surplus revenues to realise its social goals rather than distributing them as profit or dividends plus an “asset lock ” and clearly stated social goals/ focus on community benefit.

The  Forms are available on the Tab – BCC Protocol and New Way of Working

You may find the stories on the website from Community Organisations and Officers useful if you are thinking of undertaking a CAT.

For specific buildings that are currently available for CAT you need to contact Property Services


The Community Sport Asset Transfer Toolkit

Posted on 17th May 2011 by

Sport England have just launched an interactive asset transfer toolkit for sport – commissioned by Sport England and produced by Locality’s Asset Transfer Unit.

The toolkit is a good first point of information on asset transfer from a sports perspective. The toolkit provides information, resources and case studies that will be of use for anyone attempting asset transfer in a sports context.

On going work with Community Asset Transfer in Birmingham

Posted on 4th April 2011 by

Community Asset Transfer…”There are risks but they can be minimised and managed – there is plenty of experience to draw on. The secret is all parties working together”

(The Quirk Review – “Making Assets Work”)

It is hoped that this website will act as a support and guide  for both public agency staff and community organisations to the ins and outs of Community Asset Transfer in Birmingham giving an interesting, creative and importantly  “warts and all”  picture of previous and current work. (more…)

Cascading Asset Transfer

Posted on 24th March 2011 by

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.

Course Outcomes

‘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.

Course Structure

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 are a good way of communicating ideas and stories.

To Have and To Hold- Help for Community Asset Development

Posted on 24th March 2011 by

Navigating Community Asset Development can be confusing, hard work and scary. Working with a whole range of partners, technical experts and professionals can be daunting even for the most experienced of groups- even harder when often you are doing this in your spare time as a volunteer!

The Asset Transfer Unit has produced a second edition of To Have and To Hold by Lorraine Hart. This is a comprehensive guide to community asset development, written by an experienced practitioner and designed to give confidence.

To Have and To Hold

Building Community

Posted on 24th March 2011 by

Building Community

The Building Community resource has been developed by the ATU to showcase real time, real life stories of Asset Transfer from around the country.

It has been designed to inspire and inform, and contains community centres and castles and everything in between!

Local Authority Guidance- support for Asset Transfer

Posted on 24th March 2011 by

Persuading Local Authorities to understand, support and resource Community Asset Development can be quite a challenge. Through the Advancing Assets for Communities Programme however, 100 local authorities rose to the challenge of developing a robust and strategic approach to Asset Transfer.

This has resulted in the production of several tools and guidance documents to help you and Local Authorities navigate the development of  a good policy and procedure. If you are unsure whether your Local Authority has an existing policy in place contact the AT on 0845 345 4564 or email

Partnership Routemap

Designed to guide partners through the process of developing and delivering a successful Asset Transfer

Strategy Development Guidance

Written specifically to aid Local Authorities in the development of a robust and clear Asset Transfer Strategy

Legal tools

Written by Anthony Collins Solicitors, this is a suite of documents including models Heads of Terms and Leases designed to help third sector organisations and Local Authorities become better informed about the legal issues related to Asset Transfer.

Community Assets in 2011

Posted on 24th March 2011 by

The current environment of public sector cuts, public service transformation and the Big Society has shone a spotlight on the opportunities afforded by transferring assets into community ownership. The Asset Transfer Unit has responded to this emerging challenge by offering support around a whole range of different asset types.

Swimming Pools

Heritage Assets


Helping Communities to Develop Assets- Asset Transfer Unit

Posted on 4th January 2011 by

For the past four years the Development Trusts Association has been delivering a programme for CLG called Advancing Assets for Communities. We’ve been working closely with local authorities and community organisations to help pilot transfers to happen, and to develop tools and support for all those involved.

The ATU was established to help support and promote Community Asset Transfer.

It has developed a body of resources and case studies as a result of supporting the delivery of the Advancing Assets for Communities programme across England on behalf of Communities and Local Government over the last 4 years.

The Programme was about delivering two related strands of work to support asset transfer. Helping Local Authorities to develop a strategies, policies and procedures so that they could make the asset transfer process as transparent, accountable and fair as possible and understand how to value a quality project. This involved helping to develop partnerships with third sector organisations in new ways. Model strategy guidance, legal toolkits, Risk Management guidance and a partnership routemap are just some of the resources to now be available to support local authorities.

The other strand of work involved pilot transfers to community organisations. These are now case studies, have produced good practice guidelines and To Have and To Hold.

An Asset Transfer Routemap, outlining the sources of support is also available via the Asset Transfer Website. This is an interactive web based guide to navigating the pitfalls, challenges and great opportunities of asset transfer.

For further details contact the ATU on 0845 345 4564 or email

Asset Transfer in the West Midlands

Posted on 4th December 2010 by

As part of the Every Voice Counts community empowerment programme, the Development Trusts Association and the Asset Transfer Unit, with support from Community Matters have been doing some work to find out about opportunities for Asset Transfer in the West Midlands.

I’m going to use this site to update you on what we’ve found so far, resources and tools which can help those looking at developing a community asset, and contacts and details of where to get further support and advice.

At a time of great change in the relationship between the citizen and the state, a remodelling of public service delivery, service cuts and the “Big Society”, helping communities to take control of assets to help regenerate neighbourhoods is more vital than ever. I hope you will find this information useful and inspiring.