Protecting Assets of Community Value

A couple of years ago we started discussing a collaboration with the Plunkett Foundation to create a searchable and maintainable public register of Assets of Community Value in England.

After a few delays I’m glad to say that this project, thanks to the generous support of Power To Change, is now taking place and we’re already well under way with initial prototyping and development work.

Now, what’s an Asset of Community Value I hear you ask? According to Locality, who are pretty good source of information on these sort of things, Assets of Community Value (ACVs) are places and spaces in your community that are important to local people and if they come up for sale, the community has the opportunity to bid for them.

ACVs can be anything from your local pub, to a sports pitch or community hall, churches or even the local cinema. Whatever is of most importance to you and your community; and especially what you might want to protect should it change hands or come up for sale.

The Localism Act 2011 requires district and unitary councils to publish a list of nominated, approved and rejected community assets, which can be viewed by the public.

The vast majority of councils publish this information online, but formats and levels of information vary widely, from very basic information to more comprehensive details and support. As a result knowledge and awareness of the community right to bid is very low and take up is equally patchy, so with this project we’d like to help change that.

Building off the back of our FixMyStreet Platform we’re creating a single register that will gather together all of the currently listed ACVs — including those that were rejected or are currently going through the process of nomination. Just as FixMyStreet publishes its reports, these assets will be displayed on the map for anyone to view, share and discuss.

With the help of the DCLG we’ll work with local councils and provide them with support to list and manage ACVs in their area, as well as embed their own listings on their website. The service will provide help and guidance for organisations that are eligible to nominate an asset for consideration and we’ll standardise this submission process.

As the service develops, local community members will also be able to highlight assets they believe should be put forward for consideration, as well as add additional detail such as pictures and notes to registered ACVs on the site.

What we need help with

At this stage we’re looking for more collaborators who are already active in this space to come forward and get involved. We’re already in touch with CAMRA, Sport England, the Woodland Trust, and the Land Registry, but if you would like to offer some help or support please do get in touch.

We’re particularly keen to connect with Local Councils who are already actively making use of ACVs, so if you’re an officer responsible for managing the ACV process for your council we’d love to hear from you.

We know from Locality that there were at least 5,000 registered ACVs this time last year, but that list was already a little out of date and there will be more to add. Keeping everything up to date from the usual mix of web pages, spreadsheets and PDFs is going to make things challenging as well.

This is a particularly interesting extension of the FixMyStreet Platform and it’s a useful way for us to explore how to best extend the citizen engagement features of FixMyStreet beyond issue reporting and into celebrating what makes each local community unique and valuable.

Image: Garry Knight (CC BY 2.0)


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