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Community Right to Challenge

This page details information and guidance on the implications of Community Right to Challenge. The Right to Challenge is part of the provisions of the Localism Act 2011. Its aim is to give voluntary and community bodies, employees of the authority that wish to form a mutual organisation to deliver services, and parish councils the right to express an interest in running a local authority service

Community Right to Challenge

The Right to Challenge is part of the provisions of the Localism Act 2011. Its aim is to give voluntary and community bodies, employees of the authority that wish to form a mutual organisation to deliver services, and parish councils the right to express an interest in running a local authority service. The Act does not give an automatic right to those organisations expressing an interest to deliver the service and there is no guarantee the organisation will be successful in its bid.

What do I do next if I'm thinking of submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI)?

Expressions of interest will need to be submitted to the Council using a standard application form. We encourage all interested organisations to contact us before submitting an EOI. Contact details are within the Procedure.

Relevant Authorities and Relevant Bodies

The community right to challenge refers to two sets of bodies.

Relevant Authorities must consider expressions of interest and, where they accept an expression of interest, carry out a procurement exercise for the service.

Relevant Bodies are eligible to submit expressions of interest to deliver relevant services on behalf of relevant authorities.

Relevant Services

A relevant service is a service provided by or on behalf of a relevant authority in the exercise of its functions in relation to England, except services excluded by legislation.

The Right to Challenge only applies to the provision of services. It does not provide for delegation of the functions of a relevant authority. The responsibility for the function itself remains with the relevant authority.

Expressions of Interest

In addition to requiring that the bodies demonstrate that they meet the definition of a Relevant Body, Relevant Authorities may require the information below to be provided in expressions of interest.

1. Where the relevant body proposes to deliver the relevant service as part of a consortium or to use a sub-contractor for delivery of any part of the relevant service, the information must be given in respect of each member of the consortium and each sub-contractor as appropriate.

2. Information about the financial resources of the relevant body submitting the expression of interest.

3. Evidence that demonstrates that by the time of any procurement exercise the relevant body submitting the expression of interest will be capable of providing or assisting in providing the relevant service.

4. Information about the relevant service sufficient to identify it and the geographical area to which the expression of interest relates.

5. Information about the outcomes to be achieved by the relevant body or, where appropriate, the consortium of which it is a part, in providing or assisting in the provision of the relevant service, in particular:

6· How the provision or assistance will promote or improve the social, economic or environmental well-being of the relevant authority's area; and

7· How it will meet the needs of the users of the relevant service.

When an expression of interest is accepted a local authority must:

• carry out an open procurement exercise for the service and consider how the procurement exercise could promote or improve the social, economic and environmental well-being of the local area;

• Let the body know the minimum and maximum period between accepting the expression of interest and starting the procurement exercise;

• publish details of the service specification on its website.

Grounds whereby an expression of interest may be rejected

There are situations where Relevant Authorities may reject an expression of interest. These are specified in the Regulations and can be found in Section 6 of the CLG Community Right to Challenge Statutory Guidance

If a Relevant Authority decides to modify or reject an expression of interest, it must give reasons for that decision in its notification to the relevant body.

Procurement process

If we accept (even with modification) an expression of interest for a service, then we will carry out a procurement exercise to select the most appropriate service provider. The time between the expression of interest acceptance and the procurement process starting (12 to 26 weeks) provides additional time for the groups who submitted expressions of interest to prepare to compete in the procurement exercise. This is one of the main benefits of Right to Challenge.

To allow this extra time we are obliged to delay the start of the procurement exercise for a reasonable time to allow the successful organisation time to prepare for procurement. We will publish the exact timescale in our Opportunities listing which can be found here once an expression of interest has been accepted. The procurement process will comply with the Public Sector and EU procurement rules and is open to competition and involves other potential providers (including private sector), not just those submitting the original expression of interest.

Support Programme

Advice and guidance can be found from a number of independent organisations that seek to support and coach individuals, groups and small organisations in becoming social enterprises. The Right to Challenge is effectively a step to running a sustainable and financially viable public service as a business.

The Right to Challenge does not allow for a service to be run for a trial period. If an expression of interest is accepted a procurement process will take place and all providers will be treated equally.

Last modified: 10 January 2017