Community Asset Transfer
The CAT is finally out of the bag!
‘Community Asset Transfer’ that is. The Department for Social Development has made public for consultation its proposals to support ‘Community Asset Transfer in Northern Ireland (CAT NI).
GOVERNMENT CONSULTS ON ASSET TRANSFER
Development Trusts NI welcome the announcement by the Minister for Social Development, Nelson McCausland, in bringing forward for public consultation the policy initiative ‘Community Asset Transfer in Northern Ireland: Enabling and Supporting Community Ownership and Management of Public Assets’ (CAT NI).
The policy proposal sets out the ground rules that are deemed necessary to support the successful transfer of public sector assets and seeks to identify and address the barriers to the transfer process faced by public sector bodies and voluntary and community sector organisations.
The policy proposal is timely and necessary. The public sector is continuing with its programme of restructuring, which includes the setting up of new local authorities. Alongside this there are a number of new policy proposals in support of community development and urban regeneration and legislation forthcoming from the NI Executive, to underpin planning and the introduce community planning ,all point to the emergence of a new paradigm for social development. The ‘CAT NI’ policy has the potential to contribute significantly to that process by creating the conditions for local communities and their representatives’ to play a fuller role in social and economic regeneration.
Nigel Kinnaird Chair of Development Trust NI said:
‘By proposing to invest in communities, by providing them with an opportunity to develop their asset base, government has responded to commonly held opinion among community development practitioners, that alternative means, beyond repeat funding, are necessary to support third sector growth and embed sustainable development practice. ‘
Continuing, Nigel adds;
The third sector possesses the capacity for innovation in developing new products and services and in attracting social investment to support local community endeavours in enterprise and service delivery. With government providing the sector with an opportunity to explore how it might develop its asset base through the management, acquisition and transfer of public sector assets, it is providing communities with the tools for growth, for independence, reducing reliance on repeat cycles of funding and leading and shaping the communities in which we live.’
The shift in government policy provides new opportunities to engage with the public and private sectors, to explore how we better use public assets so that they meet the needs of communities of area and interest.
Development Trusts NI welcomes the policy proposals and the opportunity it presents. DTNI will lead in the development of a response on behalf of its membership and the wider community and voluntary sector with an interest in Community Asset Transfer. DTNI will advocate for the issues core to the community & voluntary sector, ensuring these are recorded and taken account of so that Government can deliver on community ownership and management of public sector assets that will empower local communities to make positive changes to improve the lives of our citizens and the communities they live and participate in.
DTNI will at its forthcoming conference, ‘The NI Conversation 13: Assets & Ambition Communities Leading Social Change’, reflect and discuss in detail the CAT NI and consider the keys needs of the CVS as its seeks to ensure that it is appropriately supported and enabled to engage and take up new opportunities proposed through the transfer of public sector assets.
For further information contact;
Programme Manager (DTNI)