2C: Having the right people involved

The process of asset transfer can be a complex business. In some cases it can take many months, if not years, especially if there is building work to be completed

We recommend that you put together a project team with a range of skills and experience to take on the different activities you will need to do to secure an asset transfer.

It may be useful to undertake a skills audit. Perhaps you have members with the skills you need but don’t know about?

Checklist of tasks

These are the main jobs that may need to be done during the transfer process:

  • Negotiation with the local authority
  • Preparing a feasibility study
  • Budgeting
  • Writing a business plan
  • Communicating with the community/members/other sports facilities
  • Press and PR activity
  • Appointing and liaising with architects/surveyors/consultants/other professionals
  • Checking leases and governing documents
  • Fundraising
  • Arranging external finance.

Once you know what skills and experience you need, check this against the people that you have. Discuss the results within the project team and make decisions about how to fill any gaps. This may involve recruiting new trustees/volunteers from the community, hiring temporary staff, providing training or appointing contractors or professional advisors.

Filling the gaps

Where big gaps exist think of creative ways forward. This might include:

  • Getting a secondment from the local authority
  • Go and look at and talk to other projects to build up confidence and experience
  • Identify potential partners who might be able to help
  • You may be able to access grant funding to pay for some professional help you need e.g. writing a business plan, putting together legal documents and getting professional plans drawn up
  • There are also schemes like Pro-help which will match you up with professionals who offer charities and community groups free professional help.

Local authorities also need the right people and skills in place to manage an asset transfer process. There should not be too much reliance on one junior officer in one department. It is unlikely that they will have all the skills and experience, or the delegated decision-making powers necessary for all the different stages.

Look at and talk to other projects to build up confidence and experience

Consider setting up a project team that brings together individuals and departments that each has a stake in the transfer and make sure there is a champion at a senior level to provide oversight and continuity.

At some point the Legal Department will need to be involved and it’s vital to make sure they are properly briefed to produce the right legal documents as this is where the process can often be held up for many months, if not years.

Community: Do you have all the skills and experience you need in your project team?
Community: As a group are you overly reliant on just a few individuals?
Local authority: Do you have the right people from the right departments working together to support the transfer?
Local authority: Is there someone with responsibility for ensuring the best outcome for both sides and ensure timely completion?