Community Right to Challenge

Last Updated: 23 August 2022

The Right to Challenge is intended to make it easier for groups to bid to run council services.

These could be:

  • parish councils
  • charities
  • voluntary and community groups
  • council employees

We must consider all expressions of interest received. If we accept them we will run a procurement exercise for the service which anyone can compete in. This could:

  • make local services more responsive to local needs
  • offer additional social value outcomes
  • deliver better value for money

Who has the right to challenge

The following groups are all eligible to express an interest in bidding to run a particular service:

  • a voluntary or community body
  • a body of persons or a trust which is established for charitable purposes only
  • a parish council
  • two or more employees of the relevant authority
  • any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations

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.

Services open to challenge

Right to Challenge applies to all of the services we provide.

The right only applies to the provision of services, it does not provide for delegation of the functions of a relevant authority. The responsibility for the function itself remains with the relevant authority.

How to exercise the right to challenge

To participate in the community right to challenge scheme you must firstly prepare an expression of interest. The proforma which must be completed in order for an expression of interest to be submitted can be found at the bottom of this page or can be obtained on request from

For services provided in house or part in house we have set a time window for expressions of Interest. The window will run from 1 April to 30 June each year.

For services which are provided by someone else currently (external provider), we will place a notification on this website 12 months before the current contract ends to enable relevant bodies time to submit expressions of interest.

Once you have submitted an expression of interest we will accept it for consideration and notify the relevant body within 30 days indicating how long it will take to reach a conclusion.

The expression of interest will then either be accepted, accepted with agreed modifications or rejected. If accepted or accepted with modifications a procurements exercise will commence following a minimum of three months after acceptance of one or more expressions of interest. The contract will be awarded to the most suitable bidder as a result of the procurements exercise.

Community Right to Challenge Proforma (PDF 79KB / 7 pages)

Further support

My Community offers advice, support and funding ideas to help community groups considering using the right to challenge.