Getting started with Asset Transfer
There are some overarching activities or issues that run through the process of developing an asset transfer project. They are worth considering as starting points because they are essential to all aspects of the process, or they need to be planned for at the start of the process.
Asset transfer projects have a greater chance of being successfully completed if there are people who are willing to take a leadership role.
This leadership role will ensure that the right support is provided at the right time to both the community organisation taking ownership and the current owner.
It is important to know what the project aims to achieve from the very outset. These objectives can vary over the course of the project, based on the research and information uncovered, but these objectives will help inform the consideration of all the options and opportunities that may arise during the feasibility stage, and to allow the stakeholders involved to be accountable for decisions made.
These objectives are statements of what an asset project is to accomplish, to help guide the people and organisations involved in the same direction.
The partnership process needs buy-in, commitment and leadership from the top – the Chief Executive of the Local Authority. Partnership thrives when the asset transfer agenda is understood and perceived positively by key stakeholders including council leaders, heads of property services, voluntary sector infrastructure support, etc. and is facilitated by getting all levels of management and all departments onboard and keen from the beginning.
Commitment and ‘can do’ attitude
Some asset development projects can get stuck in arguements and disagreements, and as a result never happen.
Most of these can be addressed by discussion and good communication to build understanding of what needs to be done.
Similarly, projects can become delayed by a lack of urgency to progressing the project by stakeholders. For some projects this may not be a problem, but for others funding may run out or volunteers may lose interest and drift away. Agreeing a timeline so that everyone is aware of the need to take action or complete tasks by certain dates is key.
Viability and sustainability
If assets projects are to be successful in the long term, every aspect of an asset transfer project should be sense through the filters of viability – whether the project will have the financial resources to stay open and functioning – and sustainability – whether the project is run by the right people with the right skills and attitudes to ensure it grows and changes as necessary.
Dealing with professional advisors
At several stages of the project it will be necessary to take advice from professionals who have the skills and experience that are not available to the project lead or stakeholders.
As a starting point, it is useful to know what different kinds of professionals do, what processes are available to select them an what project leads and stakeholders need to think about before taking professional advice.
Read more on these first steps in To Have and To Hold.