2G: Finding partners

As your plans develop, you may need specific partners to help with your project

Partners may emerge naturally from the consultation and planning processes. In general, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to complete your project without any partners, at least in the short-term. Partners will strengthen your project as long as they are the right ones.

Strong partnerships

Partners can help you with different aspects of the project, for example putting investment in, providing services, reaching parts of your community you can’t, offering skills you don’t have and being champions for your project.

Partners can come from any sector – public, private or community. The local authority may be able to suggest possible partners and broker relationships with them.

Partnerships can be informal or formal. If partners are going to have a legal or financial stake in the project or their contribution is an essential element of your plan, it’s good practice to have some formal agreement which sets out mutual expectations and responsibilities, and this may need to be legally binding. Consult a lawyer if you think that you need a legal agreement with a partner.

If you treat the process of transfer as a partnership, rather than a negotiation in which one part must win and one lose, the outcome is going to be better for everyone

Usually there needs to be some kind of mutual benefit in a partnership. This may not be financial. Here are some examples of possible partnerships:

  • A school may partner with you to benefit from free use of pitches and in return offer to promote your coaching services to local families
  • A local caterer may partner with you and run the café in your facility in return for a share in the profits
  • An accountancy firm may offer reduced financial services in return for a membership offer to their clients.

Perhaps the most important partnership is that between the local authority and the transferee organisation. If you treat the process of transfer as a partnership, rather than a negotiation in which one part must win and one lose, the outcome is going to be better for everyone.

For a major Community Asset Transfer, consider starting with a partnership agreement or a memorandum of understanding which sets out mutual roles & responsibilities in the process.

Community: Have you identified your gaps and weaknesses and where partners might help?
Community: Have you made it clear publically that you are looking for partners?
Local authority: Does the local authority consider itself as a partner in the success of the Community Asset Transfer project?
Local authority: Has the local authority considered suitable partners and facilitated introductions to them?