Community Right to Challenge

We want to support communities to work in partnership with us to design and deliver services, including those currently delivered by us.

The Council has set a 30 day period each year for accepting expressions of interest on Community Right to Challenge. The specified period in Cheshire East is from the 1 September closing on the 30 September each year.

We welcome informal discussions about taking on services at any time. The council is keen to talk to organisations about service delivery and improvement and how to best meet the needs of service users. If you have any ideas for improvements to service delivery or want to get involved in any other way you can contact the community rights team at anytime

Community right to challenge

Parish Councils, community and voluntary bodies, charitable trusts and 2 or more local authority employees can submit an Expression of Interest in taking over a service on behalf of Cheshire East Council (the 'Council').

Expressions of interest

Your EOI should be submitted on the EOI form (MS Word, 52KB) so that you give sufficient information for Council to evaluate your submission.

The Council can only use the information on the form to decide whether to accept, accept with modification, or reject an EOI .

Organisations can send supporting documents to provide evidence of the information we have asked for. For example a copy of the organisations articles of association or registration with Companies House to prove that they meet the definition of a 'Relevant Body'.

Council services with the right to challenge

The Council will consider a request to run, or help run, a 'Relevant Service' that it currently delivers and that has been listed as open to challenge.

Please note that there are currently no services open to challenge.

A relevant service is a service provided by or on behalf of the Council, except services which are excluded from the right in secondary legislation. The responsibility for the function itself remains with the relevant authority. Refer to the Statutory Guidance for more information about this.

The right only applies to the provision of services. It does not provide for delegation of the functions of a relevant authority.

Submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI)

An expression of interest can be submitted by a "relevant body". This can be:

  • a Town or Parish Council - not limited to services or facilities within its area
  • a Voluntary Body - the activities of which are not carried out for a profit
  • a Community Body - which carries out activities primarily for the benefit of the community
  • a body or trust established for charitable purposes
  • 2 or more employees of the authority
  • such other persons or bodies as may be specified by the Secretary of State by regulations

Relevant bodies can submit an expression of interest in partnership with other relevant bodies and/or non-relevant bodies. Information about all partners  must be provided in the expression of interest.  For more information about permitted types of partnerships and joint ventures refer to the Statutory Guidance.

Relevant bodies delivering contracts for the Council are expected to be incorporated with limited liability, to limit the risk to individual members.  The period between an expression of interest being accepted and a procurement exercise starting will allow for a relevant body to incorporate to be capable of providing a relevant service in its expression of interest if needed.

Delivering wider "wellbeing" benefits

Proposals in expressions of interest must meet the needs of service users. The EOI form asks organisations to demonstrate how they will deliver outcomes that meet the needs of users of the relevant service.   

The Council considers the social value in expressions of interest and in carrying out procurement exercises.  The EOI should demonstrate how the proposal might promote or improve the social, economic or environmental benefits to the community. This could include creating local jobs, improving local skills, increasing local volunteering opportunities, or improving environmental conditions. This obligation is reflected in the Public Services (Social Value Act) 2012.

Capability to deliver the service

The Council needs to be satisfied that an organisation submitting an EOI is capable and financially robust enough to deliver a contract on behalf of the Council.  The Council needs to be confident that by the time the procurement exercise starts the relevant body will be ready to take part.

We advise that the EOI demonstrates:

  • current experience and staff expertise and how these can be developed
  • how the proposal will meet any specific requirements for the service
  • how any incorporation measures (if relevant) will be undertaken with all necessary governance and insurances in place

After an EOI has been submitted

The Council considers and responds to EOI (expressions of interest) following Statutory Guidance.

  • the EOI is checked to make sure it’s valid. If information is missing it will be returned to the relevant body for completion.
  • valid and complete forms will be sent to the relevant Head of Service for an assessment of the information provided.
  • the relevant body will be notified in writing when a decision will be taken to either accept or reject the EOI within 30 days of the submission window closing. This will take into account the nature, scale and complexity of the service, the complexity of any proposal, the need to make any modifications and the timescales of any commissioning cycle and relevant Council decision making process.
  • our processes require that decisions regarding EOIs are undertaken by the Council Cabinet.
  • if the EOI is accepted there will be an open procurement exercise for the service. Organisations who have submitted an EOI will compete with other organisations in an open market.

Rejecting an expression of interest 

The Council may reject an expression of interest on one or more of the grounds specified in the Regulations. These include:

  1. The  EOI does not comply with the requirements in the Localism Act 2011
  2. The EOI contains inadequate or inaccurate information
  3. The Council considers the EOI   frivolous or vexatious
  4. The Council considers that the relevant body, or any member of a consortium, or any sub-contractor in the EOI is not suitable to provide or assist in providing the service
  5. The EOI relates to service that will stop being provided
  6. The EOI relates to services integrated with a NHS body and critical to wellbeing of users
  7. The EOI relates to services already subject to a procurement exercise
  8. The Council has already entered into negotiations with a third party for provision of the service

Further information or guidance

Page last reviewed: 06 June 2024