Community Right to Challenge

Introduced by the Localism Act 2011 the Community Right to Challenge gives certain groups the right to submit an expression of interest (EOI) to run council services. If the council accepts these expressions of interest, there will then be a procurement exercise for the service.

Having an EOI accepted does not constitute a guarantee that you will be successful in the procurement exercise and run the service.

The council is continually looking for new ways to design and deliver services to offer value for money and improved results for residents. We work closely with community groups and social enterprises that can provide high-quality services at good value.

Submitting an expression of interest

The Act states that the following can submit an expression of interest.

Relevant authorities:

  • a county council
  • a district council
  • London borough councils
  • some fire and rescue authorities
  • any other person or body carrying out a function of a public nature specified by the Secretary of State in regulations (this includes unitary authorities).

Relevant bodies:

  • a voluntary or community group
  • an organisation of trust formed for charitable purposes
  • parish councils
  • two or more employees of the relevant authority
  • any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations.

You must submit your EOI to the Strategy and Performance Team by emailing

What you should consider

Whether the council currently has a contract or commercial arrangement in place to deliver the service

If it does, we will be unable to accept an EOI until just before the contract or arrangement expires. The maximum period will be one year before the current contract is due to expire. The minimum period will be three months before the contract expires. This allows us to review any EOIs and factor them into any subsequent procurement process.

Having an EOI accepted does NOT guarantee the council will ask you to deliver the service

If the council accepts your EOI then it must run a procurement exercise which complies with procurement law and council regulations. This allows everyone that could deliver the service a chance to bid for the work. The organisation that submitted the EOI will be invited to be a part of this exercise.

TUPE implications

Under TUPE legislation in the UK, if you are successful, you will be required to undertake certain commitments and have priced these in your bid.

What must an expression of interest include

  • Details of your organisation
  • Details of any partners
  • Financial details of the relevant body submitting the expression of interest
  • Details of the service that you are expressing an interest in
  • Your service proposal
  • How you will meet the needs of the users of the relevant service

After submission of the expression of interest

An assessment exercise will be carried out on all EOIs to ensure that they meet the requirements contained in the CRTC statutory guidance. The exercise will be appropriate to the nature and complexity of the services to which the EOI relates.

The council will need to satisfy itself that a change in the method of service delivery will benefit the residents of the borough and offer value for money.

  • A review of the service scope and the assets covered
  • An assessment of:
    • the financial impacts
    • risks
    • stakeholder impacts, including end users and staff
    • the effect on the overall council commissioning strategy
    • an Equalities Impact Assessment
  • Next steps/an implementation plan and if approved, details of the procurement process with appropriate timescales.

In the event that the options set out in the EOI do not meet the needs of our residents or offer value for money, we will not take the EOI further and will advise the relevant body.

If accepted, the recommendations of the evaluation panel will need to be signed off by the appropriate BDBC officer. Depending on the size and complexity of the proposed service change this may require a Cabinet decision.

If the evaluation of the EOI supports a procurement exercise, this will need to comply with Contract Standing Orders and procurement law.

If the service has already been discontinued or a decision made to discontinue it

An EOI can be rejected when it relates to a service where a decision, evidenced in writing, has been taken by the council to stop providing the service.

Further information

Read the government guidance on the GOV.UK website which explains the legislative framework for the Community Right to Challenge.

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