What is the Right to Challenge?
The Right to Challenge is a national process being introduced
through the government's Localism
It makes it easier for voluntary and community groups or
council employees to bid to run council services.
In Kent, our medium term plan Bold Steps for
Kent already sets out our intention to give
communities more control of their local services. The Right to
Challenge is not the only way of expressing an interest in running
one of our services, it is just one route.
The Right to Challenge enables eligible groups to express an
interest in running a local authority service:
- It gives them the extra time they need to be able to compete
fairly in an open procurement exercise
- It provides a way of opening up public service delivery to
groups and organisations other than those in the public and private
Kent County Council must consider expressions of interest and, where we
accept them, run a procurement exercise
for the service which anyone can compete in. So, rather than a
‘right to run’ a public service, it is a ‘right to compete’ in a
Who has the right to challenge?
The following groups are all eligible to express an interest in
bidding to run a particular Kent County
The Right to Challenge is open to ‘Relevant Bodies’ defined
- a voluntary or community body;
- a body of persons or a trust which is established for
charitable purposes only;
- a parish council;
- two or more employees of the relevant authority; or;
- any other person or body specified by the Secretary of
State by regulations.
The Statutory guidance defines relevant bodies as the
Voluntary body is a body that is not a public
or local authority, the activities of which are not carried out for
profit. It can generate a surplus provided it is used for the
purposes of its activities or invested in the community.
Community body is a body which is not a public
or local authority, the activities of which are primarily for the
benefit of the local community.
Voluntary and community bodies are intended to cover a wide
range of civil society organisations. They reflect the required
characteristics of such bodies rather than referring to types of
organisational structure. This allows for flexibility to
accommodate future forms of civil society organisation.
The definition includes but is not limited to:
- community benefit societies (a type of industrial and provident
- co-operatives whose activities are primarily for the benefit of
the community (another type of industrial and provident
- community interest companies;
- charitable incorporated organisations; and
- other incorporated forms of body such as companies limited by
guarantee or shares where the company’s Memorandum and/or Articles
of Association state that the company’s objects are in the interest
of the community, rather than to make a profit for
Further information is available on
the regulations and guidance for Right to Challenge.