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Asset Transfer: Everything you need to know

What were the key learning points from WCVA’s Asset Transfer event? The National Assets Working Group reflect on the day.

Asset TransferThe Asset Transfer event organised by the WCVA was a day of learning for all of us involved in community asset transfers – community groups, local councils and members of the National Assets Working Group (NAWG). For us in NAWG, it was an opportunity to engage directly with groups taking part in community asset transfers.

Setting out our stall

Sharing a stand with colleagues from the Welsh Government responsible for the Protecting Community Assets consultation, we brought our lifetime supply of Community Asset Transfers in Wales – A Best Practice Guide. By the time Lyn Cadwallader, Chair of One Voice Wales recommended the guidance, all copies of the English language version had gone (luckily, the internet never runs out!)

Our Welsh Government colleagues also offered up copies of their consultation on Protecting Community Assets (closing date 11 September 2015) – please have your say.

Opening Speeches

Jane Hutt AM, Minister for Finance and Government Business, outlined the Welsh Government’s support for community asset transfer and took questions from delegates. One question from the floor (with no easy answer) asked about funding for feasibility studies for community groups looking to take over community assets.

After the Minister’s speech, there were two speakers from the social enterprise sector; Louise Barr from Monwel, discussed their expansion as Wales’ largest signage manufacturer. The second speaker, Dinah Pye, from Cynon Valley Museum outlined their story in negotiating with Rhondda Cynon Taf council to re-open their heritage museum. She outlined the challenges arising from originating as a pressure group, then morphing into Trustees of the facility; namely that they had the correct skillset for the future and the importance of getting expert advice at the right time on contracts and employment law.

Workshops

We were as keen to learn from the event as we were to engage with people and attended different workshops to gain some coverage of the issues being discussed. These included DTA Wales’ workshop on establishing viability of the community enterprise/ service – exploring how if an asset wasn’t viable, then it could become a liability.

Empower delivered an interesting workshop on developing an entrepreneurial culture within the team – stressing the need to be clear in target setting for outcomes; transparency on why that was necessary (how much money would be required each month to stay viable); and the need for everyone involved to own the solutions. There were also some sobering examples of poor management and cost control, bringing charities to the brink of insolvency.

There was a lot of emphasis given to the need to be as prepared as possible – business plans, employment law and TUPE were mentioned as recurring themes.

Representatives of Unity Trust Bank (an ethical and social bank) and the WCVA funding programme talked through how and when to access the funding available to social enterprise and community groups for both the initial community asset transfer and following that, any capital investment that might be needed. The message to take away was that loan finance can actually help attract other grant funding as the bank welcomes being part of match funding with other funding partners. Applicants should not be afraid to consider a range of funding streams and be prepared to think outside the box. There is plenty of advice and help available, be brave they said!

Geldards talked delegates through the legal issues that can present when groups and individuals take up the challenge of pursuing an asset transfer. They helped navigate the potential steps from a germ of an idea through to a full incorporation as a charitable or social enterprise organisation, focusing on how the risk of personal liability for an asset can be managed.

Logos of organisations that contributed

Organisations that contributed to the conference

Reflections on the day

The event presented much needed access to information and professional advice, which can be provided by contacting the WCVA on their number: 0800 2888 329.

Whilst the work of the NAWG is focussed on the Welsh public sector, with the spotlight on community asset transfer, it was useful for us to discover the experiences of delegates, first hand. This will inevitably inform our work in this area and practically speaking, inform the development of our website and future guidance work. Engage with us at assetscymru@wales.gsi.gov.uk.

Trosglwyddo Asedau: Popeth y mae arnoch angen ei wybod

Beth oedd y pwyntiau dysgu allweddol o’r digwyddiad Trosglwyddo Asedau WCVA? Yn y blogbost yma mae Gweithgor Asedau Cenedlaethol yn edrych nôl dros y diwrnod.

Trosglwyddo AsedauRoedd y digwyddiad Trosglwyddo Asedau a drefnwyd gan WCVA yn ddiwrnod o ddysgu i bawb ohonym sy’n rhan o drosglwyddo asedau cymunedol – grwpiau cymunedol, cynghorau lleol ac aelodau o NAWG (Gweithgor Asedau Cenedlaethol). I ni sy’n rhan o NAWG, roedd y digwyddiad yn gyfle i siarad yn uniongyrchol â grwpiau sy’n cymryd rhan mewn trosglwyddiadau asedau cymunedol.

Codi’n stondin

Gan rannu ein stondin â chydweithwyr o Lywodraeth Cymru sy’n gyfrifol am yr ymgynghoriad Amddiffyn Asedau Cymunedol, daethom â llond gwlad o lyfrynnau Trosglwyddo Asedau Cymunedol yng Nghymru – Canllawiau Arferion Gorau. Erbyn i Lyn Cadwallader, Cadeirydd Un Llais Cymru, argymell y canllawiau, roedd pob copi Saesneg wedi mynd (yn ffodus, mae’r we yn ffynhonnell ddi-ben-draw!)

Hefyd, roedd ein cydweithwyr o Lywodraeth Cymru yn cynnig copïau o’u hymgynghoriad ar Amddiffyn Asedau Cymunedol (dyddiad cau 11 Medi 2015) – dywedwch eich dweud.

Areithiau Agoriadol

Amlinellodd Jane Hutt AC, y Gweinidog Cyllid a Busnes y Llywodraeth, gefnogaeth Llywodraeth Cymru dros drosglwyddo asedau cymunedol a derbyniodd hi gwestiynau gan y rhai a oedd yn bresennol. Gofynnodd un ynghylch cyllid ar gyfer astudiaethau dichonoldeb i grwpiau cymunedol sydd eisiau mabwysiadu asedau cymunedol – cwestiwn heb ateb hawdd.

Ar ôl araith y Gweinidog, cafwyd anerchiadau gan ddau siaradwr o’r sector menter gymdeithasol; trafododd Louise Barr o Monwel ehangiad y cwmni fel cynhyrchwyr arwyddion mwyaf Cymru. Amlinellodd yr ail siaradwr, Dinah Pye o Amgueddfa Cwm Cynon, hanes eu trafodaethau â chyngor Rhondda Cynon Taf er mwyn ailagor eu hamgueddfa dreftadaeth. Amlinellodd yr heriau sy’n codi o ddechrau fel carfan bwyso, a’r heriau o drawsffurfio’n Ymddiriedolwyr ar gyfer y cyfleuster; hynny yw yr heriau o feddu ar y sgiliau cywir ar gyfer y dyfodol a gwybod y pwysigrwydd o gael cyngor arbenigol ynghylch cytundebau a chyfraith cyflogaeth ar yr amser cywir.

Gweithdai

Roeddem mor awyddus i ddysgu o’r digwyddiad ag yr oeddem i siarad â phobl ac aethom i weithdai gwahanol er mwyn clywed trafodaethau ar y materion amrywiol dan sylw. Roedd y rhain yn cynnwys gweithdy DTA Cymru ar sefydlu hyfywedd y fenter gymunedol/ y gwasanaeth cymunedol – dysgu sut y gallai ased ddod yn ddyled os nad oedd yn hyfyw.

Darparodd Empower weithdy diddorol ar ddatblygu diwylliant entrepreneuraidd oddi mewn i dîm – gan bwysleisio’r angen i osod targedau clir ar gyfer canlyniadau; eglurder am pam yr oedd y targedau hynny’n angenrheidiol (faint o arian y byddai’r tîm ei angen pob mis i aros yn hyfyw); a’r angen i bawb sy’n rhan o’r tîm gymryd cyfrifoldeb dros yr atebion. Hefyd, roedd sawl enghraifft ddifrifol o reoli gwael a cholli gafael ar gostau, sy’n gadael elusennau ar fin distryw ariannol.

Roedd llawer o bwyslais ar yr angen i baratoi cymaint ag sy’n bosibl – roedd cynlluniau busnes, cyfraith cyflogaeth a TUPE (Rheoliadau Trosglwyddo Ymgymeriadau (Diogelu Cyflogaeth) 1981) yn themâu cyson.

Siaradodd cynrychiolwyr Unity Trust Bank (banc cymdeithasol ac ethegol) a chynrychiolwyr rhaglen ariannu’r WCVA am sut a phryd i wneud cais am yr arian sydd ar gael i grwpiau cymunedol a grwpiau menter gymdeithasol ar gyfer trosglwyddo’r asedau cymunedol yn y lle cyntaf ac unrhyw fuddsoddiad cyfalaf a allai fod yn angenrheidiol ar ôl hynny. Y neges i’w chofio oedd y ffaith y gall cyllid trwy fenthyciadau helpu i denu ariannu trwy grantiau eraill, gan fod y banc yn hapus i fod yn rhan o gyllideb gyfatebol gyda phartneriaid ariannu eraill. Ni ddylai ymgeiswyr ofni ystyried ystod o ddewisiadau ariannu a dylent baratoi i feddwl yn wreiddiol. Mae digon o gyngor a chymorth ar gael, felly eu neges oedd: byddwch yn ddewr!

Siaradodd Geldards am y materion cyfreithiol a all godi pan fydd grwpiau ac unigolion yn ceisio mynd ati i drosglwyddo asedau. Aethant ati i dywys y gynulleidfa ar hyd camau posibl y daith o’r syniad bach cyntaf i gorfforaeth lawn fel cymdeithas menter gymdeithasol neu elusennol, gan ganolbwyntio ar sut y gellir rheoli’r risg o atebolrwydd personol dros asedau.

Logos sefydliadau a gyfrannodd i'r digwyddiad

Sefydliadau a gyfrannodd i’r digwyddiad

Myfyrio ar y diwrnod

Roedd y digwyddiad yn gyfle i bobl gael gwybodaeth a chyngor proffesiynol hanfodol. Gallwch gael yr wybodaeth a’r cyngor trwy gysylltu â’r WCVA ar: 0800 2888 329.

Er bod NAWG yn canolbwyntio ar sector cyhoeddus Cymru, gyda’r sylw ar drosglwyddo asedau cymunedol, roedd yn ddefnyddiol dysgu am brofiadau cynrychiolwyr o lygad y ffynnon. Bydd hyn yn siŵr o lywio ein gwaith yn y maes hwn ac o safbwynt ymarferol, yn ein helpu i ddatblygu ein gwefan www.assetscymru.org.uk a’n canllawiau ar gyfer y dyfodol. Siaradwch â ni trwy anfon e-bost i assetscymru@wales.gsi.gov.uk.

Have you got the right people on your board?

Governance

It’s been a busy couple of months for us here at the Good Practice Exchange. Far from winding down to the festive period, we’ve run events looking at issues for trustees and in governance. We’re now in the process of collating all the outputs together and making sure we get them sent out to attendees and shared through social media.

As a team we try and ensure that our events reach as many different sectors as possible, as we believe that there’s a lot that we can learn from each other. It’s a point that the Auditor General for Wales made in the opening session at the Trustees seminar – that governance issues aren’t confined to either big or small public service organisations.

Governance

It was fascinating to see common issues crop up at both the Trustees event, where the audience was predominantly from charity and community groups, and the Governance event, where people were mainly board members and staff from the public sector.

At the governance events I facilitated Grant Thornton’s session on ‘Approaches to governance from further afield’. In the discussion following the presentation we heard from delegates on issues of ensuring that the right people are on the board.

There are lots of resources on our Trustees Pinterest Board that relate to this. In 2013 Norma Jarboe’s presentation on Balanced Boards dealt with the topic head-on, and following up from that event we recorded a short podcast with Ray Singh from Velindre NHS Trust discussing their skills based boards.

At this year’s event Anna Bezodis from Wales Council for Voluntary Action and Alex Swallow of Young Charity Trustees ran a workshop specifically on having the right people on your board and succession planning.  There are some great points in the presentation on thinking about the skills available on your board. Vicky Holberry of Association of Voluntary Organisations in Wrexham helpfully shared a training-needs-analysis, which can be used by organisations to identify skills gaps.

As ever, we can accomplish a lot by sharing and working together. We always share the delegate list with everyone who attended the seminar with a list of ideas people are sharing and things they’d like to learn. Hopefully the cross-organisational and cross-sector learning will continue, and we will of course share any good practice that we unearth along the way.

Dyfrig

Personal use of social media

Social Media

Before starting my role here at the Wales Audit Office’s Good Practice Exchange, I’d always kept work related tweets separate from my personal account.

I always felt uneasy that I may bring shame upon my work colleagues by tweeting something inappropriate. But when I was fortunate enough to get this job, I realised that I faced losing a few contacts because this project didn’t have a Twitter account at the time (but does now). I decided to take the plunge and mix business with pleasure.

When I worked at WCVA I admired how my colleague Michelle Matheron managed to do what I’m just getting my head around now, by tweeting about the implications of Welsh politics for the third sector and (in her words) “girlie nonsense”. But the girlie nonsense she tweets gives a great context to her work. Working around politics isn’t just a job for Michelle, by following her it becomes clear that it’s an interest and a passion. The authenticity of her tweets adds weight to what she says, and also reminds you that you can engage with her directly.

At this point I still wasn’t entirely sure that I could be personal in a professional context and vice-versa, but since taking that step I’m very glad that I have. Having never previously worked around auditing, I’ve got a lot to learn. Twitter’s given me the chance to learn more about what Wales Audit Office staff do, and also get to know them as individuals. There are lots of great people worth following, but just for two examples it’s been great following Huw Lloyd-Jones, who’s been great at highlighting good practice in tweeting from local government in North Wales, and Mike Palmer, whose passion for sustainable development really shines through from his tweets.

Social media also gives people the opportunity to develop relationships with others, which poses some quite exciting possibilities for how public services relate to people.

By being on these platforms personally, we’re better equipped to know what effective tweeting looks like. The great thing is that there are lots of public services who are already using social media in this way, who are both personable and helpful. Organisations like Torfaen County Borough Council are interacting quickly, efficiently and in the medium of the person’s choice (in this case Twitter).

It’s become clear that organisations can’t continue to work the same way they did before social media. It’s clear that the way people access information from us is changing, as is the way we communicate. This great blog post from Comms 2.0 outlines why we need to change – because people want to hear from us in a language they can understand and relate to, in a personal way, where public services are people too.

Using social media personally is a great way to get to grips with what’s expected of an organisation. But more than that, by being on there as individuals, we’re also letting people know how our organisations work and how we reach the decisions we make and why we do what we do. As Tim Lloyd says in a great blog post for the Department for Business and Skills, “a face and a name, and a deep knowledge of a specific policy area, is far more appealing to our audiences than anonymous statements from a corporate account”. Whether this is true for everyone I’m not sure, but I can certainly say that personally I follow far more people than organisations.

Dyfrig

Defnydd personol o gyfryngau cymdeithasol

Social Media

Cyn dechreuais i’r swydd ‘ma yn Gyfnewidfa Arfer Dda Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru, roeddwn i’n cadw trydar gwaith ar wahân i drydar personol.

Roeddwn i wastad yn teimlo roedd yna bosibilrwydd byddwn i’n dod â gwarth ar fy nghydweithwyr trwy drydar rhywbeth amhriodol. Ond ar ôl i mi fod yn ddigon ffodus i dderbyn y swydd yma, fe wnes i sylweddoli roeddwn i’n debygol o golli cysylltiadau achos doedd dim cyfrif Twitter gan y prosiect ar y pryd (ond mae ‘na un nawr). Penderfynais i i gymysgu busnes gyda phleser.

Pan weithiais i yn WCVA, roeddwn i’n edmygu sut roedd fy nghydweithiwr i Michelle Matheron yn llwyddo i wneud hyn drwy drydar am wleidyddiaeth Cymru i’r trydydd sector a (yn ei geiriau hi) “girlie nonsense”. Ond mae’r “girlie nonsense” mae hi’n trydar yn rhoi cyd-destun i’w gwaith . Fe wnaeth e hefyd dangos i mi nad swydd yn unig oedd gweithio gyda gwleidyddiaeth Cymraeg i Michelle, ond yn hytrach roedd e’n ddiddordeb. Mae dilysrwydd ei thrydar yn ychwanegu pwysau i beth mae hi’n ddweud , ac mae’n atgoffa fi gallai ymgysylltu â hi yn uniongyrchol.

Ar yr adeg yma doeddwn i ddim yn siŵr byddai fi’n gallu fod yn bersonol mewn cyd-destun proffesiynol neu wneud y gwrthwyneb, ond ers cymryd y cam ‘ma rwy’n falch fy mod i wedi gwneud hynny. Does ‘da fi ddim cefndir mewn archwilio o gwbl, felly mae ‘da fi lot i ddysgu. Mae Twitter wedi rhoi’r cyfle i mi ddysgu mwy am beth mae staff Swyddfa Archwilio Cymru yn gwneud, ac mae fe hefyd wedi rhoi’r cyfle i mi ddod i nabod nhw fel unigolion. Mae llawer o bobl yn y Swyddfa sy’n werth dilyn, ond er mwyn rhoi dwy enghraifft dda i chi, mae’n werth dilyn Huw Lloyd-Jones, sydd wedi tynnu sylw at arferion trydar da mewn llywodraeth leol yng Ngogledd Cymru, a Mike Palmer, achos mae ei frwdfrydedd e ar gyfer datblygu cynaliadwy yn glir o’i drydar.

Mae cyfryngau cymdeithasol hefyd yn rhoi’r cyfle i ni ddatblygu perthnasau ag eraill, sy’n codi posibiliadau cyffrous ar gyfer sut mae gwasanaethau cyhoeddus yn ymwneud â phobl.

Rydyn ni mewn sefyllfa well i wybod beth trydar effeithiol yn edrych fel i ddinasyddion os ydym ar gyfryngau cymdeithasol yn bersonol. Y peth gwych yw bod llawer o wasanaethau cyhoeddus yn defnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasol mewn modd personol, cyfeillgar a defnyddiol yn barod. Mae mudiadau fel Cyngor Bwrdeistref Sirol Torfaen yn rhyngweithio yn gyflym, yn effeithlon ac yn y cyfrwng mae’r unigolyn yn dewis (Twitter yn yr achos ‘ma).

Mae fe’n glir dyw mudiadau ddim yn gallu parhau i weithio yn yr un ffordd ag oeddent cyn cyfryngau cymdeithasol. Mae’n amlwg bod y ffordd mae pobl yn cael gafael ar wybodaeth wedi newid, yn ogystal â’r ffordd maen nhw’n cyfathrebu. Mae’r blog gwych yma o Comms 2.0 yn amlinellu pam mae angen newid – gan fod pobl eisiau clywed oddi wrthym mewn iaith maen nhw’n deall, mewn iaith maen nhw’n defnyddio’n bersonol, lle mae’n glir mai pobl sy’n cynnal gwasanaethau cyhoeddus hefyd.

Mae defnyddio cyfryngau cymdeithasol yn bersonol yn ffordd wych o fynd i’r afael â’r hyn a ddisgwylir o fudiad. Ond yn fwy na hynny, drwy ddefnyddio nhw fel unigolion, ni’n rhoi gwybod i bobl sut mae mudiadau ni’n gweithio, sut ni’n cyrraedd y penderfyniadau ni’n gwneud a pham. Fel mae Tim Lloyd yn dweud yn y blog yma ar gyfer Adran Busnes a Sgiliau Llywodraeth y Deyrnas Unedig, “mae wyneb, enw a gwybodaeth ddofn o faes polisi penodol, yn llawer mwy deniadol i’n cynulleidfaoedd na datganiadau dienw o gyfrif corfforaethol”. Sa i’n siŵr os yw hwn yn wir am bawb, ond mae hwn yn bendant yn wir yn bersonol, achos rwy’n dilyn lot mwy o bobl na mudiadau.

Dyfrig