Community Right to Challenge - what happens next?

The expressions of interest will be considered by relevant Cheltenham Borough Council directors and cabinet members.

We will make a decision using the national criteria as a guide.

The decision will be one of three options:

  1. ‘accept’
  2. ‘accept with modification’
  3. ‘reject’


The group who has submitted the expression of interest will have presented a strong case that they could provide the relevant service. We will then run a procurement exercise to find the best provider.

Accept with modification

We may seek to agree to an expression of interest being modified if we believe we would otherwise reject it. If an agreement cannot be reached, we may reject the expression of interest.


The government has set out a series of reasons why an expression of interest can be rejected.

We will reject an expression of interest if:

  • 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 
  • we consider, 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 persons 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
  • we and a third party have entered into negotiations for provision of the service, where negotiations are at least in part conducted in writing
  • we have published our intention to consider the provision of the relevant service by a body that two or more specified employees of the council propose to establish
  • we consider that the expression of interest is frivolous or vexatious
  • we consider 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

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.

We will notify the groups who have submitted an expression of interest of the decision and we will update the Expression of Interest Register to show the outcomes of the process.

The maximum period between the date we receive an expression of interest and the date by which we will publish our decision in respect of the expression of interest is 26 weeks. We will make the decision more quickly than this where possible. You will be notified in writing within 30 days of the end of the expression of interest window with the agreed timescale for making a decision.

Moving to procurement

If we accept (even with modification) an expression of interest for a service, then we will carry out a procurement exercise to select the most appropriate service provider. The minimum period between the date of our decision to accept an expression of interest and the date on which the procurement exercise will begin is 12 weeks. The maximum period is 26 weeks.The time between the expression of interest acceptance and the procurement process starting provides additional time for the groups who submitted expressions of interest to prepare to compete in the procurement exercise. This is one of the main benefits of Right to Challenge.

To allow this extra time we are obliged to delay the start of the procurement exercise for a reasonable time to allow the successful organisation time to prepare for procurement. We will publish the exact timescale in our Right to Challenge Plan once an expression of interest has been accepted.

The procurement process will comply with the council's contract procedure rules and, where applicable, the Public Contracts Regulations 2006. This process is open to competition and involves other potential providers (including private sector), not just those submitting the original expression of interest.

The Social Enterprise Coalition offers a useful procurement and commissioning guide. Procurement processes can take some time to complete, and potential providers will need the resources and financial flexibility to continue engaging throughout the process.

The Public Services (Social Value) Act requires us to consider best value (including social, economic and environmental) in our procurement processes.

It is worth remembering that the Right to Challenge does not allow for a service to be run for a trial period.