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Community right to challenge

Under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011 voluntary and community groups, charities, parish and town councils and two or more employees of the council can express an interest in writing to run a service on behalf of the council. 

The Localism Act and accompanying regulations detail who is entitled to express an interest and anybody thinking of making such an expression should refer to the Act and regulations.

The council has determined pursuant to section 82 of the Act that it will only accept any written expressions of interest between 1 September and 31 October in any year for the operation of the service from 1 April of the next but one financial year.

The information the council will require in an expression of interest is:

  • information about the financial resources of the body expressing the interest
  • evidence the organisation will be capable of providing or assisting in providing the relevant service by the time of any procurement exercise
  • sufficient information to identify the relevant service
  • information about the outcomes to be achieved, including how these will promote or improve the social, economic or environmental of the area, and meet the needs of service users.
  • in the case of employees of the council, details of how other employees will be engaged and affected.

Pursuant to section 84 of the Act, the council will notify any body who submits an expression of interest no later than 2 months from the date of the expiry of the date for receipt of expressions of interest in any year of its decision on whether or not to accept the expression of interest.

The council may only reject an expression on grounds set out in the Act and regulations:

  • failure to comply with the statutory requirements
  • a material inadequacy or inaccuracy in the information provided
  • unsuitability of the organisation or any of its partners or subcontractors
  • a decision to stop providing the service has already been made
  • the service is one provided to people who are also in receipt of NHS services in an integrated package and a continuation of the service is critical to their
  • a procurement exercise is already underway
  • negotiations to provide the service are already underway, in writing, with a third party
  • notice has already been given that the council is considering a proposal for th service from its employees
  • the expression of interest is frivolous or vexatious
  • acceptance is likely to breach another legal obligation.

If the council accepts the expression of interest it must carry out a procurement exercise.

Pursuant to section 83 of the Act the minimum time within which the council will commence a procurement exercise is five months from the date of the closure of the period for receipt of expressions of interest and the maximum time that will elapse is seven months from the date of the closure, or six months prior to the expiry of any existing contract for delivery of the particular service whichever is the later.

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