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Community right to challenge

The 2011 Localism Act included a new ‘Community Right to Challenge’, which allows:

  • voluntary and community bodies
  • charities
  • parish councils
  • groups of 2 or more staff from the local authority
  • any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations

to bid to express an interest in the running of services the council currently provides. Private sector providers can support the above providers in their challenge. The Government provides guidance on the services the Right to Challenge can apply to and who can submit an EOI form.

Under the Right to Challenge, relevant bodies can submit a written Expression of Interest (EOI) in running a service, which the local authority is required to consider and respond to.

In order to align with the council’s decision making plans, budgets and procurement processes the council will only accept EOIs during an annual two-month window of May and June in any calendar year.

Any EOIs on services covered by existing contracts must be made within 18 months of the expiry of that contract to avoid recently awarded contracts being challenged.

The council will retain the option of considering less complex EOIs outside of this window where there is a clear benefit.

The statutory guidance asks for EOIs to include particular information so that they can be fully and fairly assessed.

The EOI form should be completed and submitted to us. The EOI form can be requested by emailing [email protected] and completed forms can be submitted to the same address.

Further guidance is available on submitting an EOI form, should be submitted, see the ‘Expression of Interests Requirements’ section of the statutory guidance available on the Communities website.

We will make a decision on your EOI as soon as possible. However, the time needed to decide may vary due to the complexity of your submission.

We will reply within 30 days of receiving your EOI to let you know how long it will take for a decision to be made and when you will be notified once that decision has been taken.

If we think that your EOI could be accepted but needs more information, we will contact you for more details.

If we think your EOI could be accepted but needs to be modified in some way, we will contact you to discuss this. We will not make modifications without your agreement.

If we accept the EOI, we will run a procurement exercise, which you can participate in, alongside other organisations.

The procurement exercise will be open and will not favour you as the body that submitted the successful EOI.

This procurement exercise must comply with existing legislation and requirements regarding procurement.

We will contact you after the decision to clarify when the procurement will begin as this will depend on the size and complexity of the service within your EOI.

If we decide not to accept your EOI we will contact you to let you know along with the reasons why.

The following websites contain further information that may help:

Last updated 15 June 2023