The relevant authority will now have to consider your expression of interest and inform you of their decision in writing.
The length of time this decision will take will depend on whether the authority has set periods for expressions of interest to be submitted. They must notify the body within 30 days of either receiving the expression of interest or, where they have set such periods, the end of the period.
If the authority advises you that it has accepted your expression of interest, then it will trigger a procurement exercise, and you have the chance to bid to deliver the service in competition with any other organisation (including the private sector, and other bodies who are not eligible to issue a Community Right to Challenge itself). This process is outlined in step 6. The authority must also publish on its website the minimum and maximum period between it accepting the expression of interest and starting a procurement exercise. It is expected that in making a decision about the timing of the procurement process the authority should take into account the time you may need to develop your capabilities or plans further in order to compete effectively.
The authority may on the other hand advise you that it is rejecting your expression of interest, but if they do so, it can only be for one of the following reasons, and they should inform you which reason(s) have resulted in the rejection.
The reasons for rejection are listed here in three broad categories:
Anything else which would mean that accepting your expression of interest would be likely to lead to a breach of the authority’s statutory duties, or break the law. If anything in your expression of interest would lead the authority to be in breach of the law or a statutory duty should it accept your expression of interest then it may be rejected.
For the group which challenged the council over the running of their local weekly market, the council respond two weeks later saying that they will make a decision within another three weeks time. After this short wait the group are delighted to hear that the council have accepted their challenge. In fact the council say that they found the submission compelling. The council inform the group that it will be putting the running of the market out to tender in a month’s time.
The group realise that it will need to be ready with its plans, so it carries on developing its business plan and meeting with local stall holders in the meantime. Although the council now seems to be quite supportive, they inform the group that they cannot have any further conversations about the proposals as there will shortly be a competitive process announced. But the group feel that they got all the information they needed at step 2 of the process, so this doesn’t cause them a problem. They now wait for the procurement exercise in step 6.
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