Community right to challenge

The Community Right to Challenge came into effect on 27 June 2012 as part of the Localism Act. It gives community organisations the right to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) in running public services.

If a community group, charity, parish council or group of staff (of the Council) identify a service they would like to run, they will need to submit an EOI form to us. If we accept the EOI, we must then run a procurement exercise for the service. The interested group will then need to compete with others who may wish to run the service.

The Community Right to Challenge is only one mechanism to help communities get involved in the running of services. It may not always be the best route for a group or community. If you would like to discuss with us ways of improving our services, or look at alternative models for service delivery, contact us. There are a range of options for working in partnership.

For more detail about the Community Right to Challenge please refer to the Government’s non statutory guidance.

  1. Which groups can use the Community Right to Challenge?

    There are 4 broad categories of groups who can use the Community Right to Challenge:

    • Voluntary and community bodies
    • Charities
    • Parish/Town Councils
    • Two or more employees of the Council

    Individuals are not allowed to submit an Expression of Interest.

    If you are a voluntary or community organisation then any legal structure, which can be shown to be 'not for profit', will be eligible for submitting an EOI, or that your activities are primarily for community benefit. However a legal structure, which has limited liability status, is likely to be essential when it comes to running the service.

    Two or more members of our team can also submit an EOI. If you are already involved in delivering the service you wish to take over, you don't need to have a registered organisation at the point of submitting an EOI. However, you would need to show that by the time of the procurement exercise, you would establish a suitable organisation to be able to run the service.

    All relevant Authorities must consider EOI's. The Localism Act lists which are relevant authorities:

    • County Councils
    • District Councils
    • London Borough Councils
    • Certain Fire and Rescue Authorities

  2. What services are relevant to the Community Right to Challenge?

    The Community Right to Challenge applies to all "relevant services" which means all the services we provide, unless they are listed as an exclusion.

    Exclusions include individual packages of services for continuing health and social care for named individuals with complex needs, provided or commissioned by us or an NHS body.

    It is the responsibility of the nominating group to identify the full details of the service. We are unable to accept EOIs where the service has not been clearly identified. However, we may be able to help with providing the information you need. You will need to allow us up to 8 weeks to supply this information.

    The Community Right to Challenge does not include any of our 'functions'. For example, one of our functions is granting or refuse planning permission, but the processing of planning applications is a service.

    EOIs can be submitted for only part of a service, or for delivery in a specific geographic area within South Somerset.

  3. Expressions of interest (EOI)

    Before completing or submitting an EOI, speak to our Strategic Planning team to discuss ways of improving our services, or to look at alternative models for service delivery.

    Councils may choose to specify periods during which EOIs may be submitted for any relevant service. Here at South Somerset, we will accept EOIs at any time during the year.

    EOIs have to be in writing and must include certain pieces of information. If you do not submit all the necessary information we will be unable to consider your application.

    We will acknowledge receipt of your nomination within 30 calendar days. During or after this time we will contact you for further information and discuss your proposal. If your EOI is eligible, we aim to consider it within 6 months. All eligible EOIs will be considered by our District Executive, which meets monthly. We will notify you of the date of the meeting and notify you of any decisions made within 30 days of the meeting.

    If your EOI is accepted, we are then bound by law to undertake a procurement exercise. The time taken to begin this will depend on the service and the way it's delivered.

    We will notify you if your proposal is not eligible.

  4. Procurement process

    Once a procurement exercise is underway all potential bidders will be treated the same. The process of expressing an interest does not give the nominating body any preferential rights once the procurement exercise begins. The legislation does not restrict who the Council can transfer the service to. It does not guarantee that the community will be able to take over the running of the service.

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