It is important that the signing of the asset transfer does not signal the end of any connection or communication with the community group. The relevant authority can offer vital support in the initial steps of asset ownership while the group hone their own business skills and networks.
Direct support from local authority employees is available in some council areas. This can be through Community Learning and Development Teams, Funding Officers, Community Advisers and other departmental staff tasked with supporting community organisations in a specific remit, for example planning and social services. For other relevant authorities support could be provided through other Third Sector support organisations in your area.
Things to consider:
- Keeping lines of communication open and being interested in the development
- Consider the options for Service Level Agreements with new asset owners to deliver services
- Allow the group to make use of the bulk-buying power of the local authority be this for utilities, insurance or equipment
Post transfer support from others
If the process that groups go through to achieve ownership is robust it will give an excellent basis from which to develop their ideas; with the feasibility, business and financial planning having been carried out. However once a community group has secured an asset they will still require a level of on-going support to assist them in making their project sustainable. There are many established organisations that have been through the process of asset acquisition and could provide peer to peer advice/ learning. There are also specialist, intermediary and membership/ network based organisations who can give advice and guidance. Community organisations should be advised to research and make contact with the most appropriate support available to them to assist with delivery of their outcomes.
On-going support could include:
- Business development support
- Statutory requirements – licences, certification, etc.
- Training and director development
- Human resources and staff management
- Networking with established community groups for peer to peer support
It is recommended that relevant authority support, available during the asset acquisition process, should be continued for some time after acquisition. This will help community organisations to become fully established and will continue to strengthen the working relationship with the relevant authority. As a community group becomes more confident and self-sustaining this support is likely to decrease over time.