#CATJRF: What the sector is looking for is support around the skills needed to move forward on Asset Transfer…

There are plenty of good examples of asset transfer to community and voluntary organisations right across the region but what the sector now needs is adequate support and advice around the skills required to move this forward. 

Within the right policy and legislative framework and with the right skills set and access to social finance, the sector can take the necessary steps to implement more sustainable projects and successful social enterprises. 

Opening up the debate on asset transfer is critical and tomorrow’s seminar will therefore be an important part of the ongoing conversations required to enable both government and the sector to make the changes that are needed. 

I will be there as part of the Queen’s reseach team to observe those conversations and will report back here on Friday as to what is said.

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  • Nigel McKinney

    Is it social finance Lisa or is there not something before that. Take a comunity organisation seeking a transfer of an asset from a local council. Council will have ready access to legal and financial advice either in house or external whereas few organisations will have the unrestricted finance available to purchase such advice and/or in some cases even know how to obtain and consider advice. It’s far from a evel playing field. I think early resources and support are needed in many cases to cover the process costs associated with options development, looking at the legal isues, business planning and so forth. I don’t think there’s a great amount of co-ordinated provision for that at the minute and I think some thought needs given to consideration of what needs done to resource and support community organisations considering asset transfer and development. Support through bodies such as DTNI may be one element – and I note also that the DSD tender for the new Regional Infrastructure Programme includes supporting asset transfer as an objective , but a funding stream might also be needed to facilitate organisations meeting the various process costs associated with exploring the issue

  • Lisa Copeland

    You’re quite right Nigel; this is what I mean by adequate support for the sector. There certainly is not a level playing field out there and as Paul Roberts said in his interview with Mick sometimes an asset may not be an asset at all, rather a liability. Without the correct advice (legal and otherwise) a community organisation could be left floundering. Moving this forward requires quite a number of things to happen: the correct policy/legislative framework to be in place in the first instance, but to ensure that the sector is adequately skilled and ‘asset transfer ready’ they then must be provided with advice, support and finance…this was one of the key findings of the Aiken report.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not sure it came out so well in my interview with Laurence Bradley in Newry, but he pointed out that there is an accumulation of skill sets over time, so that some people have become pretty adept at the difficult matter of property development, by acquiring skills as you suggest in the beginning and then honing them through the experience of managing projects.

    I think this is a particularly important insight. There’ll be a video interview with John McGregor later on in which he emphases the investment character of such projects. This is less about making people employable as helping them to become more entrepreneurial in the pursuit of social goals.

    Last thing is that what this suggests to me is that community groups contemplating such ventures should seek to draw in a diverse a group as possible so that as they progress they able to acquire the kinds of diverse skill sets that will enable them to take on the complex job of running and developing their physical asset.