Submitting an Expression of Interest for Community Right to Challenge

If a community group, charity, parish council or group of staff of the authority identify a service they would like to run, they will need to submit an expression of interest to the authority as part of the Community Right to Challenge.

Delivering public service contracts is a significant undertaking and not one to be embarked upon lightly.

If you are thinking of using the Right to Challenge, you need to be aware that if successful you will trigger a procurement process which might see your group competing with experienced service providers to try to win a contract.

We have developed a step-by-step guide to the Community Right to Challenge process:

  1. Assessing your organisation
  2. Approaching the authority and acquiring service information
  3. Building your business case
  4. Submitting an expression of interest.

Submitting an expression of interest

All relevant authorities will be required to make public their procedures for inviting and considering expressions of interest under the Right to Challenge. You will need to find out from your authority what their processes are.

They will include:

  • When you can submit an expression of interest: Authorities can either have an open process, or they can specify particular periods when they will receive expressions of interest.
  • What information they need to accompany an expression of interest: The information required by law is specified in the section below. An authority can ask for more information than this but you are NOT obliged to provide it, and the authority CANNOT reject your expression of interest simply because you do not provide information outside of the legal requirements. You may decide however that providing this extra information will help you to make your case more clearly.

Set information included in any expression of interest

Government regulations specify the information which needs to form part of any expression of interest.

  1. Information about your financial resources (assets, cash reserves, investment available to you) and the same information about the financial resources of any and all partners or subcontractors you plan to use and have named in the submission.
  2. Information about your organisational capabilities to deliver the service in question (staffing, skills, experience, track record, quality systems, policies and procedures) and the same information about the capabilities of any and all partners or sub-contractors.
  3. Information which specifies clearly what the service in question is, including the geographical area to which your expression of interest relates.
  4. Information about the outcomes which you would achieve if you (or your consortium) were providing the service in question. This information relates both to:
    a) How your proposals would contribute to social, economic or environmental well being of the relevant authority’s area.
    b) How your proposals would meet the identified needs of users of the service And ONLY IF you are employees of the relevant authority and looking to “spin-out”
  5. Details of how you propose to engage with other employees of the authority who would be affected by your proposals.

How long does it take to submit an expression of interest?

The authority must publish the maximum length of time that it will take them to make decisions on expressions of interests, including on their website. These may vary depending on the service.

The authority must also specifically tell a group who has submitted an expression of interest of how long it will take them to inform them of their decision. This notification must be within 30 days after the end of the period for submitting expressions of interest (or if there is no specified period, 30 days after the authority received the expression of interest).

What are the reasons that an expression of interest might be rejected?

Relevant authorities can reject an expression of interest on grounds listed in the regulations. The authority must give reasons for its decision, and publish these, including on the authority’s website.

Read more about the reasons why an expression of interest may be rejected.

Download 'Understanding the Community Right to Challenge' resource