Community Right to Challenge


The Community Right to Challenge was introduced through the Localism Act 2011, and came into effect in April 2012. Under the Right, a local group or group of local authority employees can express an interest in running a council service. The council must then consider this expression of interest, and if it thinks it is feasible then a full procurement exercise will take place.

Who can use the Community Right to Challenge?
Expressions of interest can only be submitted by a “relevant body”, which is defined in legislation as:

  • a voluntary body i.e. a body whose activities are not carried on for profit
  • a community body i.e. a body that carries on activities primarily for the benefit of the community
  • a body of persons or a trust which is established for charitable purposes only
  • a parish council
  • two or more employees of the local authority

Can I express an interest in any council service?
Almost all council services can be subject to an expression of interest.

Council functions (eg making decisions on planning applications) are exempt. A full list of council functions is provided in Part 3 of the council’s constitution

In addition, the government has decided that the following services are also exempt from the Right:

  • Until 1 April 2014: a relevant service commissioned in conjunction with one or more health services under a partnership arrangement or by a relevant authority and an NHS body acting jointly.
  • Until 1 April 2014: a relevant service commissioned by an NHS body on behalf of a relevant body (i.e the local 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.