St Albans' Own East End

FCC Management Committee

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Community Asset Transfer

Community Asset Transfer (CAT) is a provision in the Localism Act (2011), encouraging local authorities (LA) to pass downwards to communities land and buildings which they no longer require in order for the LA to function appropriately.

We have been assured that St Albans City & District Council (SADC) intends to treat Fleetville Community Centre (FCC) in this way.  The Act gives LAs the authority to sell the land/buildings at below current value, but we have been assured that we will be offered it at no cost, except for the cost of the legal process.  This is not a guarantee, however, and we will not know the conditions of the transfer of freehold until after SADC has considered our application, which may take between 12 and 18 months after our application.  Verbally, the council had informed us that the legal part of the process might take between 9 and 12 months.

The asset transfer process is rigorous and we are required to demonstrate that we are a properly constituted organisation with a sound business case.  In our documentation we intend to show that our proposal will deliver additional benefits for our community.

If we want to proceed ...

We must be able to demonstrate that we are capable of running the building for its intended community purpose and that it is a viable proposition.  Ultimately we will have to take on the building, all its liabilities, and all the issues associated with building ownership, including renovation, refurbishment, funding and maintenance.  It is therefore imperative we can fully demonstrate and evidence to the Council that we have a full appreciation of all the issues and that we address these in a business case.

The evidence

The evidence is divided into two groups: 14 sets of documents to establish our viability, and a further 29 which are linked to the principles of an accreditation scheme.  We don't intend to apply for full accreditation, VISIBLE, until we have a new building.  But the VISIBLE scheme also has an entry "little brother" scheme called preVISIBLE, which we will work towards.  In the meantime we are required to provide 29 further documents to demonstrate that the Centre operates according to appropriate standards. 

St Albans' Own East End

The roles and responsibilities of trustees

Many organisations issue their members with cards, wallets or booklets containing the rules of the organisation.

Trustees are just expected to know them!

We are about to engage in some important decision-making, so here is a reminder of our main roles and responsibilities:

Main duties of trustees

  1. 1.Ensure the Trust is carrying out its purposes for the public benefit, i.e. for the purpose for which it was set up and for no other purpose. This includes correct spending of funds.

  1. 2.Comply with the Trust’s constitution and charity law requirements. Ensure the charity register details are kept up to date and that the required returns are sent to the Charity Commission.

  1. 3.Act in the Trust’s best interests, doing what will best enable the Trust to carry out its functions, making balanced and informed decisions, both long-and short-term considerations. Trustees must avoid placing themselves in conflict with their personal interest or of others. Trustees must not receive any benefit from the Trust unless it is properly authorised and in the interest of the Trust.

  1. 4.Manage the Trust’s resources responsibly, acting responsibly, reasonably and honestly – the duty of prudence. Trustees will make sure the Trust’s assets are only used to support its purposes; not take inappropriate risks with the Trust’s assets or reputation; not over-commit the Trust; take special care with investing or borrowing; and complying with restrictions when spending funds.

  1. 5.Act with reasonable care and skill. Trustees must use reasonable care and skill, including taking appropriate advice when necessary. Trustees should give enough time, thought and energy to their role by, for example, preparing for, attending and participating in all trustees’ meetings.

  1. 6.Ensure the Trust is accountable, complying with statutory accounting and reporting requirements.

Making decisions

The trustees will make decisions together, working as a team. While decisions do not need to be unanimous, the majority must agree.

When decisions are made, trustees must: act within their powers; act in good faith and only in the interest of the Trust; ensure they are sufficiently informed, taking any advice they need; take account of all relevant factors they are aware of; ignore any irrelevant factors; deal with conflicts of interest and loyalty; make decisions that are within the range of decisions that a reasonable trustee body could make in the circumstances.

Click here to see Governance Code for charities issued by the Charity Commission.

One step to a new community centre building

This autumn the trustees have important decisions to make.  We will be asked to vote on documents we will be submitting to the Council in support of our application to change the ownership of the land.

We will also be asked to vote on whether or not we take the next step – to submit our application, which is far more important.

In these pages we will find all of the information we need to help us understand and help us make up our mind.

We start with the legal process which kick-started the Council's invitation when we told them what we hoped to achieve during the next few years.