The Localism Act gives a number of new rights and powers for individuals and communities, one of which is the Community Right to Challenge (CRTC). This allows a variety of relevant bodies the right to submit an expression of interest to deliver relevant services on behalf of relevant authorities.
Somerset County Council (SCC) would welcome informal approaches from groups or organisations to discuss options around taking on services, so that wherever possible, the formal invocation of the CRTC should be the last resort. This includes informal approaches from staff to run services and interested staff should in the first instance speak to the relevant Strategic Manager or Director / Lead Commissioner to discuss their proposal.
The following are relevant bodies eligible to submit an Expression of Interest (EOI) under the CRTC:
a voluntary or community body
two or more local authority employees of the relevant authority
any other person or body specified by the Secretary of State by regulations.
On submission of an EOI by a relevant body, SCC will acknowledge receipt of the EOI within 30 days of the close of any specified period for the receipt of EOIs or, if no period has been specified, within 30 days of receipt of the EOI. If a service is already the subject of a procurement exercise or currently under contract then the relevant body will have to wait until the expiry of the contract to participate in the re-tendering / re-procurement process.
SCC will then decide whether to accept the EOI, accept it with some modifications or reject it. An EOI can only be rejected on certain grounds. In the Information and Resources section of this page we have guidance and further information about what to include in an expression of interest, things to consider and grounds for rejection.
Expressions of Interest should be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org or posted to:
Community Right to Challenge,
Customers and Communities,
Somerset County Council,
(Post Point 6 B3E),
What happens next?
If SCC accepts an EOI for a relevant service, SCC will undertake an appropriate procurement exercise for the service having regard to the nature and value of the contract that may be awarded and in accordance with its policies and procedures regarding the procurement of services.
The timescale for any procurement exercise will vary according to the nature, scale and complexity of the service that the EOI relates to. For example if you are submitting an EOI for a service where SCC has existing contracting obligations then we will need to take into account the period of time that the contract still has to run which could be a considerable period in some cases. The procurement exercise will involve other potential providers, not just the relevant body that submitted the original EOI.
If SCC decides to modify or reject an EOI, SCC will notify the relevant body of the decision, giving reasons for it. The notification will also be published on SCC's website.
Somerset County Council is now using the Supplying the South West e tender portal to advertise its contract opportunities. Prospective Suppliers can register on the site. Registration is free and will enable you to search for opportunities and to receive alerts related to your areas of interest.
Further advice and support for staff members interested in forming a staff mutual is available from the Cabinet Office.