What is Asset Transfer?
Running a community may involve the transfer of an asset, i.e. the library building itself.
Community ownership of assets is not new. Indeed it has a well documented history going back hundreds of years through our society. However in more recent times, community ownership and management of land and property has been given fresh momentum as a result of influential reports, Government policy and the work of community based organisations.
At its simplest level, asset transfer is a shift in management and / or ownership of land or buildings from public bodies (most commonly local authorities) to communities (community and voluntary sector groups, community enterprises, social enterprises, etc).
The spectrum of transfer options can range widely, but could be a freehold, a long lease, a shorter lease or a licence to occupy. However, for most transfers where grants or loans are required for capital development, the length of tenure will need to be long enough to secure external investment. Therefore community asset transfer is usually taken to mean a long lease, of at least 25 years, or a freehold.
This agenda will be of interest to both established community based organisations and Parish and Town Councils as well as informal groups of residents committed to saving important community assets and transforming their library services for the benefit of their community.
There are hundreds of community based organisations running successful ‘community enterprises’ in urban and rural areas across the UK. As independent, but locally accountable community based organisations, they are engaged with their communities and are well placed to become, or help provide, vital services tailored to the needs of their areas.
The Asset Transfer Unit provides a wealth of information in relation to Community Asset Transfer.
Asset ownership and management agreements are explored in more detail here.
The new Community Right to Bid will come into force in autumn 2012. It aims to keep valued land and buildings in community use by giving local people the chance to bid to buy them, if and when they come onto the market. More information about the “right to bid” can be found on the mycommunityrights website.