What is an asset transfer?
An asset transfer occurs when a public sector body, usually a Local Authority, passes on the management and/or ownership of facility to a community group. This is not anything new. The General Disposal Consent 2003 allows local authorities to dispose of an asset at below market value when it will help to promote or improve an area.
An asset is something that is valuable, or contributes to something that is valuable. Clearly a track, or clubhouse or other athletics facility is extremely valuable to an athletics club, but it must be capable of being managed either to break even or at a surplus. This can be with a subsidy or grant from the local authority.
So what are the potential benefits?
Although the starting point for an asset transfer often comes about because of a threat, there are many potential benefits of asset transfers:
- Meeting their policy objectives
- Making better use of an underused asset
- Better involvement of the community
- Moving clubs away from being dependant on grants
- Access to grants for which local authorities cannot apply
- Ensuring that services are protected against further cuts
- Reducing costs
- Control of their own destiny and ability to develop their own identity
- Security, no threats from budget cuts or closure of facilities
- Being able to improve their facilities when they want
- Opportunities for sports development and to get more people involved
- Increased income generation
There is however a potential that some local authorities may just be looking to “offload” facilities which cost them too much to run either now or in the future. Considerable pressure may be put on clubs to take these on in order to protect their club venue. Clubs need to think about whether your track is going to be an asset to you or a liability. By working through some of the ideas in the Downloadable Asset Transfer Guide, you should have a better answer to this very important question.