Community ownership and management of assets
Transferring assets, such as community centres or parks to local people can give communities a greater opportunity to shape the way these assets are run to ensure that they provide the maximum benefit to local people.
The most successful organisations will be able to use assets to generate an income that can then be invested in providing a wider range of services that local people need.
See: Milton Keynes
Exploiting the possibilities of a site for social enterprise might prove to be a key factor in the economic success of any project. Naturally, being in the centre of a major city is a significant advantage but every area will have its potential sources of revenue.
See: Coin Street
Often the positive effects of the type of work that stewardship organisations can provide are not easily described in variables that can be measured, but this should not detract from recognition of their work.
Residents can be key members of stewardship teams but in order to fill these roles they will need training and capacity building to fulfil their roles with confidence.
- Are there assets or facilities included in a planned new community that could be best managed by local people?
- How do these link to the planned section 106 agreement?
- Is there potential for community groups to set up social enterprises?
- How can communities be involved in deciding how community generated income is spent?
- Why it is important to promote capacity building when transferring assets to communities?
Community ownership and management of public assets are means of empowering communities. There are many benefits, including providing revenue streams to use for other community purposes. Wealth creation through the new use of an existing facility, be it a centre, a shop, a housing estate, or a school, can help improve confidence in that place. It can help to restore the viability of local businesses, and it can help to restore land values and attract new investment.
While fixed public assets in a community - the roads, parks, publicly owned land, buildings and facilities - are key resources for communities, the full benefits will only be realised if they are used to their full potential. Community ownership and management generates its own demands upon community groups in terms of time, skills and capacity, and will not always be the best approach. However, at present community groups and social enterprises are not always able to make the most of their potential and could potentially do much more to benefit their communities if they had more control over assets and received more support from local public and other agencies to own and manage them.
- Communities Taking Control: ODPM (2008)
- Hot property, getting the best from local authority assets, Audit Commission (2000)