Local Authority Guidance- support for Asset Transfer

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 info@atu.org.uk

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

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

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

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 info@atu.org.uk

Asset Transfer in the West Midlands

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.

Co‐Production in Neighbourhoods: the Neighbourhood Equity Model

This is  new report on co-production in Birmingham’s neighbourhoods which proposes a Neighbourhood Equity Model.  (Download as a pdf here).  The Model argues that if government works to help communities empower themselves through taking on commissions to provide public services it triggers a virtuous cycle of wealth creaton, particulalrly in poorer neighbourhoods:

The brokerage or commissioning of public services coproduced between agencies and between agencies and communities leads to better outcomes which strengthen social capital. This leads to increased asset values – including the price of housing – and results in greater neighbourhood equity (the equivalent of the ‘share value’ of the neighbourhood). Wealth created in this way could be used to fund further coproduction.

This is how the report views the process: Continue reading “Co‐Production in Neighbourhoods: the Neighbourhood Equity Model”

Theresa McIlkenny, Director, Norton Hall – “…this place is life changing”

Theresa Mcilkenny recently became a director at Norton hall after years benefiting from the services it provides for her and her son. Here she shares her thoughts on why community run places have particular strengths…

  • Becoming a director seemed like a natural progression, it allows us to help them understand what users expect from Norton Hall
  • You can only be as happy as you children, these place allows me to go out and what I want to do, that makes me happy.
  • The staff here are very committed to the children, to their activities to their education, it feels like a very family atmosphere. If  ever you’ve got anything you want to talk about they don’t dismiss it out of hand.
  • I didn’t want to live on benefits, wanted to be in work. I had misgivings about leaving my son anywhere, but they made me feel very comfortable.  In the end Richard was learning so much by being here he sometimes didn’t want to come home.
  • People don’t understand that places like Norton Hall can be life changing. It was life – changing for me.  It allowed me to make things better in my life.

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

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