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Community right to challenge

What is Community Right to Challenge?

The Community Right to Challenge was introduced under the Localism Act 2011 and provides a right for voluntary and community bodies, charities, town and parish councils and two or more employees of the authority to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) to run local authority services, where they believe they can do so differently and better.

Where an Expression of Interest is accepted, we must carry out a procurement exercise for the service. The procurement exercise will be open to others who wish to tender to run the service so the body that triggers the exercise may not eventually be the provider of the service.

We welcome interest from groups looking to take over the running of Council services during June and July and would encourage you to speak to us in the first instance to find out more.

We will accept expressions of interest between 1 June and 31 July each year.

Are you interested in running a Council service?

Contact us for an informal discussion and to find out more.

The chart below shows how our Community Right to Challenge process works and the timescales.

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June to July 2024

  • Expression of interest (EOI) submitted via eligible body to South Cambridgeshire District Council point of contact
  • Log EOI, send to Head/s of Service (HOS), inform eligible body in writing within 30 days of 'window closing' of date by which it will receive decision
  • HOS makes initial assessment (no action taken if frivolous/vexatious)
  • If EOI valid, notify Lead Member & Unions that EOI has been received

August to November 2024

  • Affected service assess the EOI against agreed criteria
  • If EOI does not meet one or more of criteria, identify potentials modifications and discuss with eligible body
  • Report to Leadership Team (LT) with recommended course of action

December 2024

  • Decision by Lead Member

January 2025

  • Options:
    • Accept
    • Accept Challenge with modification
    • Reject challenge - publish decision and reasons

February to March 2025

  • If accepted:
    • Council conducts standard procurement exercise for service which meets standard legal requirements
    • Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) notice submitted and tender specification documents prepared

April 2025 onward

  • Procurement process conducted

Which services does the Community Right to Challenge cover?

An Expression of Interest can be submitted for any Council service, however national guidelines exempt services in certain circumstances. Full details are available in the communities right to challenge Statutory Guidance.

Submitting an expression of interest

Councils are required to specify a time frame when Expressions of Interest may be submitted. We will accept expressions of interest between 1 June and 31 July each year.

If you do wish to submit an expression of interest to run a Council service, you will need to submit your application in writing or by email.

Between 1 June and 31 July, our online form may be used to submit a formal EOI under the Localism Act 2011 or to provide information for an informal discussion with the Council.

Please send your Expression of Interest to:



Community Right to Challenge
Sustainable Communities Team (Health and Environmental Services)
South Cambridgeshire District Council
South Cambridgeshire Hall
Cambourne Business Park
CB23 6EA

Your submission will need to include the following:

  1. Information about the financial resources of the relevant body submitting the Expression of Interest.
  2. 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.
    (Note - 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 1 and 2 must be given in respect of each member of the consortium and each sub-contractor as appropriate).
  3. Information about the relevant service sufficient to identify it and the geographical area to which the expression of interest relates.
  4. 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: (a) How the provision or assistance will promote or improve the social, economic or environmental well-being of the relevant authority’s area; and (b) How it will meet the needs of the users of the relevant service.
  5. Where the relevant body consists of employees of the relevant authority, details of how that relevant body proposes to engage other employees of the relevant authority who are affected by the Expression of Interest.

How will we deal with your Expression of Interest?

We will acknowledge receipt of your Expression of Interest, and let you know when we will consider it, no later than 30 August.

After we have considered your Expression of Interest, we will advise you of our decision by the end of January.

When an Expression of Interest is accepted we will put in place a procurement process. The timescale for this will vary according to the nature and circumstances of the service that the Expression of Interest relates to. For example, if you are submitting an Expression of Interest for a service that is already subject to a contract we will need to take into account the period that the contract still has to run. This could therefore be between six months and five years.

Grounds for rejecting an Expression of Interest (EOI)

  • We consider that the EOI is frivolous or vexatious
  • The service is integrated with a service provided by the NHS and the continued integration of the service is critical to the well-being of service users
  • The service is already the subject of a procurement exercise
  • We have entered into negotiations with a third party to provide a service, and at least part of these negotiations has been conducted in writing
  • The service has been stopped, or a decision has been taken in writing to do this
  • We consider, based on the information in the EOI that the relevant body or any sub-contractors are not suitable to provide or assist in the provision of the service
  • The relevant body provides inadequate or incorrect information in the expression of interest
  • We consider that accepting the EOI would contravene the rule of law or a breach of a statutory duty

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