Community Asset Transfer in Birmingham – Key Lessons – Karen Cheney

Karen Cheney, Birmingham City Council

Karen Cheney has been the co-ordinator of  the Community Asset Transfer Development Programme as part of her job as Senior Manager – Community Empowerment Projects Lead in the Neighbourhood and Communities Team of Birmingham City Council – Constituency Services… this is what she’s learned:

  • We did it! We’ve come a long way very quickly, but it’s complex – acknowledge the need to be in it for the long haul, and lots of patience for all partners
  • AWARENESS – CAT is not resource neutral for either side – time, capacity and finance
  • LEARNING is key for everyone – Local Authority and other public agencies, not just Third Sector Organisations (TSOs) and learning from our mistakes and change as well as the good practice and success.
  • HONESTY – CAT is not for everybody – not enough to be a good idea. Needs sound business plan, governance and finance
  • RELATIONSHIPS first – Asset Transfer is so much more than the building/asset. More to do with relationship building and strengthening communities. Physical regeneration/refurbishment can be the catalyst for social regeneration, social enterprise and entrepreneurship
  • LINKAGES – importance of joint approach and linking property function and community development process – strategic context and embedding
  • VALUING not just cost – investment and commitment
  • FLEXIBILITY – of all partners especially LA
  • Vision, Innovation and Risk – essential on both sides
  • Key has been the PARTNERSHIP WORKING, engagement and empowerment with Third Sector Partners and internally with colleagues
  • COMMUNICATION and use of language – honest robust dialogue and challenge to build mutual trusting mature relationships adult to adult rather than parent/ child – usefulness of neutral facilitators
  • Importance of Celebrating Success – reward and recognition of largely voluntary input from TSOs
  • Useful to have a Champions – political and key officer(s) – statutory and voluntary  sector
  • Information and Learning should be open and accessible to as many people as possible – website development

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *