Archive for the ‘Community Asset Transfer’ Category

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


Community Asset Transfer in Birmingham – Key Lessons – Karen Cheney

Posted on 17th February 2011 by

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

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.

Just get it done.

Posted on 26th July 2010 by

A short video from the Asset Transfer Unit on their site Building Community – one which describes the essence of community driven change – the desire to just get it done.

Of course a lot of the lessons found on this site and others show that getting things done might be the driver – but success depends on much more being in place.

Stevie Prior, Director of Norton Hall, on Community Asset Transfer

Posted on 11th July 2010 by

Interview at the Norton hall open day on July 11th 2010, Stevie Prior is the Norton Hall director who’s been involved in much of the negotiation over Community Asset Transfer. Here’s a sumary of her thoughts..

  • “Delighted to have got to this stage,  it’s been an “interesting process” and  very useful “learning curve”
  • there has to be a good relationship with city council officers
  • there is a tremendous amount of work involved and you have to allow for that
  • some elements – like legal aspect and dealing with the council in new ways gets “extremely serious and at times quite stressful”
  • I think we’ve emerged a more robust organisation
  • it’s enabled us to progress, which is what it was partly about anyway.
  • there is a need for council officers to understand a little more about community development

Paul Slatter, Director of Chamberlain Forum

Posted on 4th July 2010 by

Paul Slatter is the director of Chamberlain forum and has been involved  in a number of ways to  bring the parties together. Facilitating sessions and using a technique called structured dialogue method, which as the name suggests is a structured way of approaching a dialogue between 2 sides of an issue. For more information on Structured Dialogue see here and for a full report – as a word document – click here.


Some key points Paul makes are: (more…)

Nick Booth from Podnosh talks about his role as facilitator on the Community Asset Transfer programme

Posted on 3rd July 2010 by

Nick Booth from Podnosh talks about his role as facilitator on the Community Asset Transfer programme. Nick was asked to start this website to capture the story of the community asset transfer transfer programme and  record the learning journey of both officers and community activists involved.


His expectations of simply providing a place for participants in the transfer project to tell their stories changed, as this also became a social reporting project and he has called on his “old media” skills to capture the learning, experiences and journeys too.

Advice to other Local authorities and officers:

    • Don’t be afraid to tell the truth of your experience as you go through the process. This will be a useful assessment and understanding of how successful the process was for you and others.
    • This sort of open transparency should be used in all other communication methods too, and should eventually affect your organisations expectations of it self.
    • Don’t be afraid to be fallible, your humanity will strengthen the process and engagement will be deeper.

      Advice for third sector organisations:

        • Use online tools such as blogs and video as your project progresses  because in the end this will help you understand what you’ve achieved and the process. ,
        • Don’t just limit online tools to telling the story of your asset transfer – they are a great way to tell the everyday story of  what you do and who you work with.

          Norton Hall Nursery Workers

          Posted on 28th June 2010 by

          At the heart of what Norton Hall does is provide childcare for their local community. It helps the children learn and  frees up parents to work or study.

          Here three of the staff talk about what it means to work at Norton Hall.

          Perry Common Community Hall Re-opens

          Posted on 19th June 2010 by

          Perry Common Opening selected images

          Above are a few photos from yesterday’s open of the the newly refurbished and Community Asset Transferred Perry Common Community Hall. We also have some video which we’ll share as soon as we’ve done some work on it.

          Thoroughly enjoyable afternoon following on from a good 9 months of building and two years of other work to get to this stage.