Posts Tagged ‘Jane Edwards’

Jane Edwards Community Asset Transfer in Birmingham

Posted on 24th March 2010 by

Jane’s remit is to work with third sector organisations in a role that engages with each of Birmingham’s ten constituencies, Birmingham Property Services and Legal Services. She shares her thoughts on the progress of the Asset Transfer Development Programme:

The scope of the development programme

  • it was apparent that Birmingham City Council needed a simplified and clear model for Asset Transfer
  • Birmingham City Council was one of the first Local Authorities to work with the Development Trust Association and act as a catalyst to work at how the process might be changed
  • Birmingham didn’t just look at the transfer of a single building but the whole policy and procedure of Community Asset Transfer

Agreeing a lease and reducing costs

  • it is crucial for organisations to get around a table (preferably with their lawyers as part of the conversation) from the outset to agree terms
  • by carefully agreeing and drafting detailed Heads of Terms, the time and cost associated with drafting a lease can be greatly reduced

What is “measuring value”?

  • Birmingham City Council is bound to charge market rent for property. Currently this is offset by grant but can only be agreed on an annual basis
  • As part of the programme, the Council have developed a tool to appropriately assess the ‘added value’ of an organisation against local and national objectives which is then offset against the market rent
  • ‘valuing worth’ assessments can assist organisations in applying for external funding

Advice for similar projects

  • Consultation – speaking to people is crucial. Speak to as many stakeholders as possible, as widely as possible, from the very start
  • Building trust and working together is so important to achieve much better outcomes for everyone
  • Third sector organisations are very savvy and have great capacity to achieve high quality work especially working with public and private organisations which have very different structures

Ifor Jones on Community Asset Transfer

Posted on 23rd March 2010 by

Ifor Jones, BCC Director of Constituency Services

Ifor Jones is the Director of Constituency Services at Birmingham City Council.  As he says in the interview below, he got a involved in the current community asset transfer work a little down the line.

A key part he played was to help nurse through last minute contractual issues involving the council’s legal officers and Norton Hall and Witton Lodge Community Association.

Ifor also reflects on what he thinks the council and community groups can learn from the ground laid by the work of officers like Karen Cheney and Jane Edwards in property:


  • The legal side was “tough”.  Don;’t think a community hall is “small beer” compared with the big property deals.  The art is building trust but also recognising and respecting that this is a legal process.
  • An outcome has been a lease model developed during this process.
  • Birmingham has chosen to do community asset transfer one step at a time, rather than a “big bang” of many buildings at once – and now has the benefits of learning from doing it this way.
  • Valuing worth has many applications – including with worklessness and unemployment.

Key tips:

  • For a local authority: Not a universal panacea. The quirk report was important but “all it did was open up a set of possibilities”.  Temper making this happen to local circumstances. Fit it to local policy and politics.  Birmingham likely to use this as a tool kit, because asset transfer wont always be the right answer.   Let people innovate, especially between strategic staff and community groups.