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
- 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
- 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.