Community Right to Challenge

What is the Community Right to Challenge?

The Community Right to Challenge is part of the Localism Act 2011. It gives voluntary and community groups, parish councils and local authority employees the right to submit an 'Expression of Interest' in taking over and running a local authority service. The council must consider and respond to the Expression of Interest. If the council accepts it, we must run a procurement exercise under normal procurement rules. You can find the legislation and statutory guidance here:

Primary legislation (Act of Parliament)

Localism Act 2011, Chapter 2

Secondary legislation (regulations)

SI2012/1313 - The Community Right to Challenge (Expressions of Interest and Excluded Services) (England) Regulations 2012

SI2012/1647- The Community Right to Challenge (Fire and Rescue Authorities and Rejection of Expressions of Interest) (England) Regulations 2012

Statutory guidance and other information:

Department for Communities and Local Government website

Who can make an Expression of Interest?

Only relevant bodies can make an Expression of Interest. The Localism Act lists the following as relevant bodies: 

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

    A voluntary body is defined here as a body that is not a public or local authority, the activities of which are not carried on for profit. It can generate a surplus provided it is used for the purposes of its activities or invested in the community.

    A community body is a body which is not a public or local authority, the activities of which are primarily for the benefit of the community.

    The definitions of a voluntary or a community body are intended to cover a wide range of civil society organisations. They reflect the required characteristics of such bodies rather than referring to your organisational structure. This allows for flexibility to accommodate future forms of civil society organisation.

    The way in which groups demonstrate community benefit will vary depending on their legal form and the associated requirements. Please see the statutory guidance for more information.

    When can I submit an Expression of Interest?

    EOIs may be submitted to Barnet Council between 1 April - 30 June and 1 October - 31 December each year.

    The Council will not consider EOIs for any services provided under contract by Capita's Customer and Support Group or by Re until 2022 as those services are contracted out to Capita and Re until 2023.  

    When did this legislation come into force?

    This came into force on 27 June 2012. More detail on the community right to challenge.

    How long will it take the council to consider an Expression of Interest?

    The maximum period that will elapse between the date on which we receive a valid EOI and the date on which we notify the body submitting it of our decision is 90 days, or 120 days if any of the following apply:

    • a modification may be required to make the EOI capable of being accepted and the council intends to propose this
    • the service is shared with one or more other relevant authorities or is jointly commissioned with one or more other public bodies
    • the EOI proposes radical change to the way a service is delivered or is otherwise particularly complex

    We will evaluate EOI in accordance with the Statutory Guidance. Please ensure that you read this carefully before submitting an EOI.

    Further information

    The Department for Communities and Local Government has established a support programme to help community groups or individuals who wish to challenge service provision through use of the Right. Further information about the support programme.

    For enquiries, please contact