The Right to Challenge process

Right to Challenge applies to most of the services that we provide (there are some exceptions set out in the national statutory guidance). You can find out more about our services in our Budget Book and Medium Term Financial Plan. Many of our services are already provided under contract by external organisations. Details of opportunities to tender for these contracts are available on the Kent Business Portal.

We are not setting time windows when expressions of interest under Right to Challenge must be submitted. We will consider any expression of interest at any time.

1. Submit an expression of interest

Read our guide to completing your expression of interest (PDF, 129.2 KB) and then submit an expression of interest.

We will notify you of the date by which we will make a decision on your expression of interest within 30 days of receiving it. The maximum period between the submission of an expression of interest and the decision being made will be 26 weeks. We will make the decision more quickly than this where possible.

2. Decision made based on national criteria

Valid expressions of interest will be considered by our directors and Cabinet Members. We will make the decision using the national criteria for Right to Challenge as a guide. The decision will be one of three options:

  1. Accept - if the expression of interest meets all the criteria
  2. Accept with modification - we may ask for some changes to be made so that we can accept the expression of interest
  3. Reject -  government has set out a series of reasons why an expression of interest can be rejected. These are:
  • The expression of interest does not comply with any of the requirements specified in the Act or in regulations
  • The relevant body provides information in the expression of interest which the relevant authority considers to be inadequate or inaccurate.
  • the relevant authority considers, based on the information in the expression of interest, that the relevant body or, where applicable a) any member of the consortium of which it is a part, or b) any sub-contractor referred to in the expression of interest is not suitable to provide or assist in providing the relevant service
  • The expression of interest relates to a relevant service where a decision, made in writing, has been taken by the relevant authority to stop providing that service
  • The expression of interest relates to a relevant service a) provided in whole or in part by, or on behalf of, the relevant authority to person who are also in receipt of a service provided or arranged by an NHS body which is integrated with the relevant service, and b) the continued integration of such services is, in the opinion of the relevant authority, critical to the wellbeing of those persons
  • The relevant service is already the subject of a procurement exercise
  • The relevant authority and a third party have entered into negotiations for provision of the service, where negotiations are at least in part conducted in writing
  • The relevant authority has published its intention to consider the provision of the relevant service by a body that two or more specified employees of that authority propose to establish
  • The relevant authority considers that the expression of interest is frivolous or vexatious
  • The relevant authority considers that acceptance of the expression of interest is likely to lead to contravention of an enactment or other rule of law or a breach of statutory duty.

Expression of interest rejected

If we decide to reject an expression of interest, we have a legal duty to publish the decision and the reasons for that decision online.

Expression of interest accepted

If the expression of interest is accepted, a procurement exercise will be carried out to find the most suitable provider for the service. The minimum period between our decision to accept an expression of interest and the date on which the procurement exercise will begin is 4 weeks. The maximum period is 26 weeks. The time between the expression of interest acceptance and the procurement process starting is designed to provide additional time for the groups who submitted expressions of interest to prepare to compete in the procurement exercise. The procurement process will comply with the Public Sector and EU procurement rules. This process is open to competition and involves other potential providers (including private sector), not just those submitting the original expression of interest.

Expressions of interest received to date

We will publish details of any expressions of interest received and the decision made here:

Service

Information

Learning Disability Group-Based Day Activity Services

  • Hadlow Pottery - 2 EOIs received - both accepted 18 June 2013
  • Wood n Ware - 1 EOI received - accepted 18 June 2013
  • Freeway's Catering Services - 1 EOI received - accepted 18 June 2013
More information is available on the social care contract specifications page

Country Parks

  • Country Parks in East Kent - 1 EOI received - rejected on 19 February 2014
  • The expression of interest does not comply with any of the requirements specified in the Act or in regulations

Gateway

  • Gateway services - 1 EOI received - rejected on 25 June 2014
  • Rejected on grounds that the service is already the subject of a procurement exercise