How to challenge

Who has the right to challenge?

The relevant bodies eligible to express an interest in providing services for or on our behalf are:

  • a voluntary or community body which can include an industrial or provident society, a Community Interest Company or a charity;
  • bodies of persons or trusts established for charitable purposes;
  • a parish council;
  • two or more employees of the local authority;
  • anyone else specified by the Secretary of State.

The statutory guidance defines relevant bodies as the following:

  • 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.
  • 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.

The definitions of 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.

Which services are included?

An expression of interest can be made in respect of “any service provided by the local authority” and this includes everything that is not a function. Functions are the things the we are required to do or may do, such as making planning decisions, where as services are provided in order to carry out these functions.

The right only applies to the provision of services; it does not provide for delegation of the functions of the Council. The responsibility for the function itself remains with the Council. A limited number of services, principally those provided to individuals with complex health or social care needs or those which use direct payments are excluded.

The following services are excluded from the community right to challenge, either for a limited period or permanently:

  • Until 1 April 2014, a relevant service commissioned in conjunction with one or more health services by a relevant authority or by a Primary Care Trust, NHS trust or NHS foundation trust (in this paragraph 2.8 referred to as an “NHS body”) under a partnership arrangement or by a relevant authority and an NHS body or a Strategic Health Authority, acting jointly.
  • Until 1 April 2014, a relevant service commissioned by an NHS body on behalf of a relevant authority.
  • A relevant service commissioned or provided by a relevant authority in respect of a named person with complex individual health or social care needs.

Services which are commissioned and managed by individuals or their representatives using direct payments, for example under The Community Care, Services for Carers and Children’s Services (Direct Payments) (England) Regulations 2009 do not fall within the scope of the community right to challenge as the individuals or their representatives, as opposed to the relevant authority, commission the services. Direct payments are one way of giving people more choice and control over the services they receive. Individuals or their representatives are given funding in lieu of services. They use this money to arrange their own care and support which meets their needs in ways that are most appropriate for them.

How it works

To assist with managing the process and to tie in with budget setting processes, a period has been set for submissions of expressions of interest and this is different for services we deliver and services we procure.

Services we deliver - you can submit an expression of interest from 1 July to 30 September.

Service delivered under contract - The window for submitting an expression of interest begins at eight months before, and ends six months before the end date for the existing contract.

We have a maximum of three months to decide whether to accept, modify or reject your proposal. We will  notify you of our decision in writing.

The procurement process

We will aim to begin all procurement exercises within a minimum of four months and a maximum of eight months of deciding to accept the expression of interest. Occasionally this period will be extended where the service is particularly large or complex. If this is the case the relevant body who submitted the expression of interest will be notified and details will be placed on our website.

During the procurement process the relevant body can make a formal bid to run the service. Other organisations will also have the chance to bid to run the service.

How do I express an interest?

We must consider any expression of interest submitted by a relevant body in writing within the specified time periods. The following information must be included in any expression of interest:

  1. Where the relevant body proposes to deliver the relevant service as part of a consortium or to use a sub-contractor for delivery of any part of the relevant service, the information in paragraphs 2 and 3 below must be given in respect of each member of the consortium and each sub-contractor as appropriate.
  2. Information about the financial resources of the relevant body submitting the expression of interest.
  3. Evidence that demonstrates that by the time of any procurement exercise the relevant body submitting the expression of interest will be capable of providing or assisting in providing the relevant service.
  4. Information about the relevant service sufficient to identify it and the geographical area to which the expression of interest relates.
  5. Information about the outcomes to be achieved by the relevant body or, where appropriate, the consortium of which it is a part, in providing or assisting in the provision of the relevant service, in particular:
    - how the provision or assistance will promote or improve the social,    economic or environmental wellbeing of the  relevant authority’s area;    and
    - how it will meet the needs of the users of the relevant service.
  6. Where the relevant body consists of employees of the local authority, details of how that relevant body proposes to engage other employees of the local authority who are affected by the expression of interest.

For further information and guidance please contact the Monitoring Officer,