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Empowerment and Asset Transfer – the national perspective Charles Woodd Community Resource Division.

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Presentation on theme: "Empowerment and Asset Transfer – the national perspective Charles Woodd Community Resource Division."— Presentation transcript:

1 Empowerment and Asset Transfer – the national perspective Charles Woodd Community Resource Division

2 2 What is asset transfer? The transfer of ownership of management of land or buildings from a local authority (or other public body) to a third sector organisation… usually at a discounted price… often ‘off’ the market eg to allow time for transfer to be implemented successfully… on a spectrum of tenure from a management agreement to freehold transfer

3 3 What’s in it for Government? “increase the number of people engaged in in the running and ownership of local services and assets” - Communities in control: real people, real power “the overriding goal is community empowerment” - Quirk Review of Community Management and Ownership of Public Assets Commitment to a thriving third sector through “Community buildings, accessible to the whole community” - Third Sector Review

4 4 What’s in it for local authorities? Increase in feelings of influence locally (NI4) More effective use of assets – better vfm More targeted services Improved environment for a thriving third sector (NI7) Attracting additional resources to the area Improved cohesion and sense of belonging (NI1 and NI2)

5 5 What’s in it for communities? Preserving iconic buildings and local facilities Generating independent income to support community activity Creating jobs and wealth locally Strengthening community ‘voice’ and cohesion locally Developing strong, stable independent community anchor organisations which can deliver on local needs, and support smaller local groups to thrive

6 6 What’s the context? Total Place/Total Capital and Assets – local public bodies working together to streamline asset portfolios, to achieve efficiencies and improve services Operational Efficiency Programme (OEP) – Treasury targets for savings from public sector disposals of assets Government interest in broadening ‘ownership’ eg independent Commission on Ownership

7 7 What’s the choice? (1) When considering surplus or underused assets, local authorities have a choice: Either dispose commercially and use the money to pay for other services Or transfer the asset at a discount in order to realise social benefits in terms of services provided, savings generated, other priorities advanced But is it that straightforward?

8 8 What’s the choice? (2) No, experience shows it’s not always straightforward… Some assets are not very disposable – listed, expensive to refurbish, subject to restrictions on use, in the wrong place Transfer to community governance can unlock additional funds for refurbishment Some iconic buildings have strong community support, leading to reputational risk if offered on the open market

9 9 What are the risks of asset transfer? (1) Receiving organisations don’t have the capacity/skills to take on and develop the asset, leading to threat of failure, insufficient use Assets are ‘captured’ by single interest groups and not used in the public interest, leading to local resentment, under-utilisation, threat of misappropriation

10 10 What are the risks of asset transfer? (2) Adequate funding is not available to develop and maintain the asset Transferring body lacks the capacity or experience to support the transfer fully The conditions for transfer are too prescriptive eg imposing a ‘one size fits all’ model, discouraging local innovation, restricting opportunity for enterprise leading to self-sufficiency

11 11 How can the risks be mitigated? (1) Expert advice available from the Asset Transfer Unit – Tailored consultancy and access to shared learning through Advancing Assets/ATU Specialist support from national networks: DTA, ACRE, Community Matters, Architectural Heritage Fund, etc Guidance from RICS leaflets and Managing risks in asset transfer (CLG, 2008)

12 12 How can the risks be mitigated? (2) Funding – particularly Communitybuilders Fund Contact for other possible funding opportunities - Community enterprises set up as IPSs can issue community shares – raising funds and broadening spread of community ownership Exploration of innovative ideas for asset- owning intermediaries

13 13 Contact Charles Woodd Community Development Team Leader Communities and Local Government Tel:


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