“I became a director of Shared Assets because I realised that the best way to use assets well and wisely was not necessarily to focus on who owned them, but how they were managed.
They say that ownership is nine tenths of the law, but in my experience (and I have quite a lot) bad management makes a donkey out of the law when it comes to good outcomes from asset ownership – happy users, happy owners and sustainable, viable and beautiful buildings and landscapes.
The push for community ownership of assets is a part of this. But community ownership is not always going to be the best solution, particularly for those assets where collective needs are catered for – parks, forests, waterways, and energy sources for example.
So the key, I have decided, is a bit of “flair” when it comes to using and adapting them. And by “flair” I mean it in the text book sense – a real commitment to doing something well with a bit of style and originality. If this is done with inclusiveness, collective action and cooperation it is possible to create both financial value for owners and social, economic and environmental value for the rest of us.
So there you have it – my take on the way to go with assets. Who should own them is a decision that should be based on who can provide the flair in managing them that delivers the classic triple bottom line.
Both the private sector and the public sector do not always have good form on this as assets for them may serve other purposes – making sure that an asset services a business purpose (making gum or profits from buying and selling assets) or a public purpose (delivering services that we all agree should be provided by the state). So we need to find cross sectoral ways of doing this.
It’s as good a place to start as any and what, for me, Shared Assets is all about.”
Do you agree? Let us know what you think below!
Lorraine is a director of Shared Assets, runs Community Land Use and is on twitter @LorraineHartCLU