Community Right to Challenge
The Community Right to Challenge is a national process introduced through the Localism Act 2011. It makes it easier for voluntary and community groups or council employees to bid to run council services. We must consider expressions of interest and where these are accepted, we will run a procurement exercise for that service. The Right to Challenge is a 'right to compete' in a procurement exercise.
The Community Right to Challenge enables eligible groups to express an interest in running a local authority service, as it:
- gives them the extra time they need to be able to compete fairly in an open procurement exercise
- provides a way of opening up public service delivery to groups and organisations other than those in the public and private sector.
The following groups are all eligible to express an interest in bidding to run a particular council service. The Right to Challenge is open to 'relevant bodies' defined as:
- a voluntary or community body
- a body of persons or a trust which is established for charitable purposes only
- a parish council
- two or more employees of the relevant authority, or
- any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations.
The statutory guidance defines relevant bodies as the following:
- a voluntary body is a body that is not a public or local authority, the activities of which are not carried out for profit. It can generate a surplus provided it is used for the purposes of its activities or invested in the community
- a community body is a body which is not a public or local authority, the activities of which are primarily for the benefit of the local community.
Voluntary and community bodies are intended to cover a wide range of civil society organisations. They reflect the required characteristics of such bodies rather than referring to types of organisational structure. This allows for flexibility to accommodate future forms of civil society organisation. The definition includes but is not limited to:
- community benefit societies (a type of industrial and provident society)
- co-operatives whose activities are primarily for the benefit of the community (another type of industrial and provident society)
- community interest companies
- charitable incorporated organisations, and
- other incorporated forms of body such as companies limited by guarantee or shares where the company's Memorandum and/or Articles of Association state that the company's objects are in the interest of the community, rather than to make a profit for shareholders.