What is the Community Right to Challenge under the Localism Act?

It is a new right under the Localism Act 2011. It aims to offer communities opportunities to have more control and a play a bigger role in shaping and running local services.  Under the Right to Challenge an Expression of Interest (EOI) to take on provision of a council service can be submitted by a “Relevant Body “. If successful, it will lead to a procurement exercise for the provision of that service. It does not automatically give the “Relevant Body” the right to deliver the chosen service. The following information gives more details of who can submit an EOI, when an EOI will be accepted by the council and the process that then follows.

Who can submit an Expression of Interest (EOI)?

The government's statutory guidance states the following “Relevant” bodies are able to submit an EOI:

  • A voluntary, community body or neighbourhood groups
  • A charitable trust or body
  • A town or parish council or
  • Two or more employees of the council

Please refer to section 1.4 to 1.13 of the statutory guidance

It is also possible these bodies could submit an EOI in partnership as well as on their own (details in section 1.14 and 1.15 of the statutory guidance)

Submitting an Expression of Interest

Councils are required to specify a timeframe when Expressions of Interest (EOI) may be submitted.  The council has taken the decision to introduce a window of opportunity in which expressions of interest to challenge service provision can be submitted. This will be between, 1st and 31st July each year. We will naturally continue to have an ongoing dialogue with local groups about opportunities to look at devolving council services.

How should Expressions of Interests (EOIs) be submitted?

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

  • Identification of the service concerned and the geographical area to which it relates
  • Information on financial resources available to deliver the service
  • Evidence of capability to provide/assist in providing the service
  • Detail of outcomes that would be achieved including:
    a) how social, economic or environmental wellbeing would be promoted/improved and
    b) how service users needs would be met

Where an EOI proposes provision of service by a partnership and/or through the use of sub-contractors, information on financial resources and evidence of capability to deliver a service will need to be provided for each member of the consortium and/or each sub-contractor and the relationships explained.
Section 4.2 of the statutory guidance offers more detail.
It may also be helpful to understand why an EOI may be rejected. Reasons may include:

  • It has not been made by a ‘relevant body’ (see section 1)
  • It contains inaccurate or inadequate material
  • It relates to a service that is not the responsibility of the council
  • It relates to a service that the council has already agreed will be delivered by another organisation
  • The submission is considered “frivolous” or “vexatious”
  • The service is already subject to a procurement exercise
  • The EOI is likely to breach statutory duties
  • The service is currently under contract which not yet due for retender

Please refer to section 6 of the guidance for the full list and explanation

It is recommended that potential bidders see our Expression of Interest (EOI) pre-completion checklist in the first instance this will ensure you meet minimum criteria and may save time and effort of presenting a bid that does not meet the requirements. Should potential bidders meet the requirements of the EOI pre-completion checklist, you may wish to consider using our Expression of Interest submission form to present your Right to Challenge bid.

The purpose of this form is to assist you in submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) under Part 5, Chapter 2 of the Localism Act 2011, The Community Right to Challenge (Expressions of Interest and Excluded Services)(England) Regulations 2012.

We recommend that you use this form to submit your EOI although you are not obliged to do so. However, using this form will assist you to ensure sufficient information is provided for us assess your proposal.
You may attach or include any supporting documents as well.
Relevant bodies (defined in section 1) can submit an EOI to:

Karen.paton@thanet.gov.uk or by post to:

Strategic Procurement Manager
Corporate Services & Transformation
Thanet District Council
Cecil Street, PO Box 9
Margate, Kent CT9 1XZ

Helpful Information:

The following web pages contain further information that may be helpful:
DCLG Statutory Guidance (June 2012)
Government’s Community Rights web site
DCLG policy statement on Community Right to Challenge

Support & advice:

Over £10m is available to community groups looking to take over local services using the new rights through the Community Right to Challenge Grant Programme. This will complement the wider Community Rights Support Programme http://mycommunityrights.org.uk which includes an advice service run by Locality http://locality.org.uk

The Community Right to Challenge grant programme is now open for applications from groups interested in bidding for and running local authority services.
More details on the programme and how to apply can be found on The Social Investment Business website http://www.sibgroup.org.uk/communityrights/rights/