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Community Asset Transfer - Opportunities to reduce re-offending

19 July 2012

Does your organisation work with ex-offenders? Do your plans include community asset transfer? This programme could help you to achieve your goal.

The community, voluntary and social enterprise sectors have a long history of developing effective services to support ex-offenders. Innovation is driven by a strong commitment to finding realistic alternatives to offending. Independent locally accountable organisations play a key role in reaching excluded people and providing accessible services. Whilst some services are specialist, many work with ex-offenders as part of wider community services – including support around drug and alcohol misuse, mental health issues and access to training and employment.

As part of the Government’s initiative to reduce crime and implement effective rehabilitation, the criminal justice system is undergoing substantial restructuring and exploring new ways to work with community and social enterprise partners including mutual spin-outs and social impact bonds.

Community Asset Transfer

Community asset transfer is the transfer of land or buildings at less than market value from a public body (e.g. government departments, local authorities) to a community organisation. The rationale for community asset transfer is to gain key social, economic or environmental outcomes. Locality is the UK’s leading network of community organisations. Viewing every community as a place of possibility, Locality champions community asset ownership, community enterprise and social action.

Locality is working with the National Offender Management Service to deliver a programme to demonstrate how land and buildings owned by the Ministry of Justice (MOJ) can be transferred to the community and used to reduce re-offending. The programme aims to:

- develop a strategy for community asset transfer of MOJ buildings and land.
- progress pilot projects to explore the viability and effectiveness of community asset transfer in this context.

NOMS and Locality are now keen to hear from innovative projects which could use community asset transfer – from the Ministry of Justice or another statutory organisation – to develop or enhance services for ex-offenders. Examples of the types of project which could be supported include:

- use of redundant prison farms as a base for social enterprises to provide jobs and training in agriculture and gardening.

- development of restaurants and cafes to give training and experience in catering.
- innovative counselling and treatment services.

- development of community hubs which integrate the needs of ex-offenders with wider community services.

See original article and more information on the Asset Transfer Unit's website.

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