Community Right to Challenge

The new Community Right to Challenge was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 and is now in force. The new right is part of the government’s plan to shift power back to communities and enables certain groups to apply to run council services.

Who can apply?

The groups that are eligible to express an interest in running a council service are set out in the act. They are:

  • Voluntary and community bodies
  • Organisations set up for solely charitable purposes
  • Parish Councils; and
  • Two or more employees of the council

How it works

The scheme will be open for groups to express an interest from March 2013, and it will then run on an annual cycle. The booklet 'Understanding the Community Right to Challenge', giving an explanation of the process, including eligible services and grounds for rejecting expressions of interests, is available on the My Community Rights website.

Timing of expressions of interest

For Mid Sussex District Council services currently delivered by the council, the scheme is open for expressions of interest between 1 March and 30 April each year, starting March 2013. 

For council services that are currently delivered by another organisation through a contract with the council, the scheme is open for expressions of interest during the period of three months starting 15 months and ending 12 months before the contract expiry date (based on the initial term of the contract). For example, if a contract expires on 31 December 2014, expressions of interest would be received between 1 October and 31 December 2013.

Details of the council’s current contracts and timetables can be found on the Contract & tenders page.

Decision making timetable

If you express an interest, we will inform you of the timetable for deciding whether it has been accepted or rejected within 30 days of receiving it. As a guide, the minimum and maximum timescale for determining an expression of interest will be six to 26 weeks.

Notification of decision

If your expression of interest is rejected, the reasons for this decision will be published within 10 working days.

Procurement process

If your expression of interest is accepted, a procurement process will start, where you can make a formal bid to run the service. During the procurement process, other organisations will also have the chance to bid to run the service. For more information on how the council's procurement process works, please see our Contracts & tenders webpage.

How to express an interest

You will be able to make an expression of interest from 1st March 2013 on the attached template. If you have any questions, please e-mail

Useful links

Advice for relevant bodies, including step by step guide and a spreadsheet to help you to assess whether you are ready to submit an expression of interest.

Explains the legal framework and requirements for the Community Right to Challenge.


 The Social Investment Business has introduced a grants programme for groups who want to take up opportunities under the Community Right to Challenge. For more information, go to the My Community Rights grants webpage.

Contact us

If you have an idea about the Community Right to Challenge and would like to get involved, please contact:

Peter Stuart
Head of Finance, ICT and Human Resources
Mid Sussex District Council
Haywards Heath, West Sussex, RH16 1SS

Telephone: 01444 477315

Community Right to Challenge Form