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Asset Transfer unit Transforming Communities 23rd March
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Asset Transfer unit Transforming Communities 23rd March

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Carrie Weekes of the Development Trust Association and Al Bell of Community Matters present on their contribution to the Community Asset Transfer development programme in Birmingham and the role of......

Carrie Weekes of the Development Trust Association and Al Bell of Community Matters present on their contribution to the Community Asset Transfer development programme in Birmingham and the role of the Asset Transfer Unit - including lessons from other area of the country.

They were speaking in Birmingham on March 23rd 2010 which was part of the learning from the Birmingham City Council Community Asset Transfer development Programme funded by AWM, which began in January 2009 and ran through until March 2010.



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  • Community asset transfer – so what?!? What’s new? Haven’t communities been developing assets forever and a day? Aren’t there examples from around the world of public bodies leasing, selling and even gifting assets to communities? Is CAT just another example of a Government announcing stuff that’s already happening? And, why should we concern ourselves with it at an extraordinary time like this?
  • Well, to some extent it could be considered ‘old news’, but…significant distance has been travelled over the past 4 years – in terms of broad appreciation of the benefits that community asset ownership and control can result in, in terms of the UK government’s commitment to progressing the transfer of under-utilised and redundant public assets to further the aspirations of communities which are keen to manage and own assets and take control of their collective destiny, and in terms of the work the UK third sector has taken a lead on to demonstrate both the opportunities and the challenges that attend the real business of community asset transfer from the public sector to communities. And, the establishment of a dedicated Asset Transfer Unit last January to support such activity, against the backdrop of a Community Builders Fund and the forthcoming Community Land Trust NFB, could well be regarded as the ‘icing on the cake’. So, it’s worth taking a moment to consider where the UK agenda came from, before looking at where it may be headed from hereon. In particular, it’s worthwhile highlighting what a call to action at an event such as this can result in, if public and third sectors resolve to work together.
  • How to do all of this? Well, the ATU is a tentative first step in the UK which builds upon the extensive experience of DTA Members who have been developing assets for the past 25 years in some instance, and which is now well-placed to draw upon the lessons learnt from 3 yrs intensive programme activity throughout England.


  • 1.  
  • 2. Transforming Communities through Community Controlled Assets Carrie Weekes Development Trusts Association Al Bell Community Matters
  • 3. What role for CAT? 466 DTA Members - 80% already engaged in asset based development, benefiting from a collective asset base worth > £500m 900 Community Matters Members – extensive involvement in / experience of leasing and managing facilities worth > £75m 90 Bassac Members – including the settlement movement – with £60m assets in community ownership >15,000 Anglican church buildings, 8,900 rural community buildings, 300 Building Preservation Trusts… ?
  • 4. Community Asset Transfer in the UK – A Brief History of Recent Times
    • 2006 - DTA Annual Conference
    • 2007 – Making Assets Work: The Quirk Review of Community Management and Ownership of Public Assets; Advancing Assets for Communities;
    • 2008 – ‘Managing Risks: A Guide’; £30m Community Assets Programme; ‘Communities in Control’ – White Paper.
    • 2009 – Asset Transfer Unit; £70m Community Builders Fund.
    • 2010 – Community Land Trust National Facilitation Body
  • 5. The Asset Transfer Unit
    • Promotion & Marketing – educating, influencing, effecting culture change
    • Information, Advice & Referral – for the public sector, community enterprises and the general public.
    • One-stop-shop – a central repository for sourcing relevant policies, legislation, expert commentary on developments, and practitioner input to help progress transfers both at the level of strategy and in practice.
    • Community – access to and exchange of knowledge between others involved in community asset transfer activity to disseminate good practice to as wide an audience as possible.
    • Programmes – Advancing Assets, Community Asset Programme, Cascading Asset Transfer.
  • 6. Key Lessons Local Authorities : need buy-in from officers and members, cross-departmental teams and a strategic approach to asset management. Progress is hampered by restructuring and staff movement, cautiousness about capacity of third sector and legacy from failures. Third Sector: asset management and ownership will not suit all groups. Groups must explore options and develop rationale for transfer based upon need and sound business planning. Viability NOT liability! Time & Money: both are needed in every case!
  • 7. Success! Lots to celebrate and shout about! Advancing Assets Years 1-3: 90+ Councils, 150 transfer pilots Community Assets Programme – 6/38 transfers complete within 18 months Follow developments online over the coming year - www.buildingcommunity.org.uk
  • 8. West Midlands Asset Transfer Network 12 Local authorities- Birmingham, Warwick, Stoke, Herefordshire, Coventry, Worcester, Rugby, Sandwell, Wolverhampton, Staffordshire and Staffordshire Moorlands, Dudley. Series of events on Strategy Development, Social return and accounting, Legal issues and Making the Business Case. Developing relationships, sharing experience, celebrating success!
  • 9. Looking Ahead Growing Awareness – CAT goes global! Cross-Party Support – general election year The Efficiency Agenda – multiple assets/culture change Total Place and Empowerment The ‘Credit Crunch’ – access to finance & clawback Meanwhile Use Agenda – interim applications
  • 10. Carrie Weekes [email_address] Al Bell [email_address]