Community Asset Transfer
- Meeting of Cabinet, Tuesday, 20th January, 2015 9.30 am (Item 106.)
- View the background to item 106.
As detailed in the recommendation.
The Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Environment provided an update on the development and implementation of the Council’s approach to Community Asset Transfer (CAT).
Public assets owned by Flintshire County Council were one of its major strengths. However, the Council must balance the requirement to dispose of surplus or underutilised assets to provide funding for its capital programme with the need to regenerate local communities and encourage social enterprise through the alternative use of its buildings and land assets. Community ownership could play a part in enhancing the local environment and providing opportunities for all sectors of the community.
Assets that were considered suitable for transfers included playing fields, play areas, community centres, youth centres, allotments, sports grounds, pavilions and libraries.
Interest expressed to date included a total of 20 proposals for over 40 assets which had been agreed to proceed to stage 2. The next stage would be to produce a business case which was expected to take six months. In addition, a total of 47 informal enquiries had also been received from Town and Community Councils, community organisations and individuals relating to 195 assets which covered 21 Town and Community Council areas.
The stage 2 decision would be a formal decision that committed the Council to an Asset Transfer subject to completion of legal agreements. Therefore the decision making needed to be formal and in line with Council policy. It was proposed that the initial mechanism be a recommendation panel with one representative Member from the Council and Flintshire Local Voluntary Council (FLVC), supported by council officers. Recommendations from the panel would then be brought back for formal ratification by the Council and authority given at that stage to enter into legal agreements. It was proposed that the Cabinet Member for Environment be the Council representative on the panel which should meet every three months.
The Chief Officer (Organisational Change) explained the approach and methodology of the CAT strategy as follows:
· Stage 1 – Expression of Interest: This could be made by an individual or community group
· Stage 2 – Business Model Application: This could only be made by a community group and was the formal application stage of the process
· Stage 3 – Completion and Transfer of Asset: The final stage in the process which would be between the Council and an appropriate organisation
In response to a question from the Cabinet Member for Education, the Chief Officer (Organisational Change) explained that Town and Community Councils were being encouraged to act as facilitators in their areas with a view to other organisations and groups getting involved.
The Chief Officer (Governance) responded to a further question and explained that there was sufficient capacity within the Legal Services team to undertake the work on the legal agreements as each one would be similar and not bespoke.
The Chief Executive explained that services were protected for 2015/16 which provided time for Town and Community Councils, community organisations and individuals to express an interest for 2016/17. The Leader concurred and said by allowing more time for expressions of interest to be shown, communities would understand the implications of what would be at risk if CATs were not considered. He added that the level of interest shown in a short time period, since November, was encouraging and demonstrated that discussions were taking place in communities.
That the appointment of the Cabinet Member for Environment be approved to sit on the Panel which will make recommendations in relation to all stage two business models.
- Community Asset Transfer, item 106. PDF 39 KB
- Enc. 1 for Community Asset Transfer, item 106. PDF 67 KB