Community Right to Challenge

The Community Right to Challenge is one of the initiatives that was introduced in the Localism Act 2011, and came into force from 27 June 2012.

It explains the Right for community organisations to submit an expression of interest in running services of local authority and fire and rescue authorities on behalf of that authority.

The right is solely concerned with the provision of services with the responsibility for the function remaining with the local authority.

Community Right to Challenge aims to give communities more opportunities to shape and run local public services where they believe they can do so differently and better.

They may think they could deliver services better or cheaper, make them more responsive to local needs, offer additional social value, or deliver better value for money. The services may be at any scale of activity from very local and small to borough wide.

If a 'relevant body' such as a community group, charity, parish council or group of council staff identify a service they would like to run, they will need to submit an expression of interest to the authority.

We have to decide whether to accept, modify or reject it. If the authority accepts the expression of interest, they must run an open procurement exercise for the service.

The interested group will need to compete with other private, public and voluntary sector organisations who may also wish to run the service.

Where the service is delivered as part of a statutory duty the public authority retains the statutory duty, even if they commission the delivery of services to meet their statutory duties externally.

This is the same as when services are commissioned out now - for example homelessness services can be contracted, but the legal duty towards homeless people remains with the local authority.

Services the community right to challenge applies to

The community right to challenge applies to almost all Local Authority services including those which are currently contracted out to other providers. A small number of services are excluded including those for a named person with complex individual health or social care needs and (until 1 April 2014) those commissioned in conjunction with the NHS.

The legislation:

  • allows local authorities to specify when they will consider community right to challenge applications
  • outlines the grounds for refusing applications
  • outlines wider factors which local authorities need to consider in coming to a decision, including economic, social and environmental wellbeing circumstances.

If you wish to make a formal expression of interest, then please complete a form and submit it by sending it to us by email or post. A link to the form is available from the Step 1 tab above.

We will make a decision on your expression based upon the information that we ask for in this form and in accordance with the provisions of the Localism Act 2011.

We will acknowledge receipt, and within 30 days after the close of the expression of interest window, we will let you know the date by which you will receive a decision on your application.

Our decision will be to reject, to ask you to modify, or to accept your expression.

If we accept your expression of interest, then we will invite your organisation to compete in an open procurement exercise.

If you wish to complete a form then please refer to the Community Right to Challenge Statutory Guidance for further information.