THE COMMUNITY RIGHT to Challenge came into force this week. Under new powers introduced by the Localism Act more communities will be able to bid to take over local services they think they can run differently and better.
The Community Right to Challenge aims to hand more power back to communities, allowing voluntary and community groups, parish councils and local authority staff to express an interest in taking over the running of local authority services, making services more responsive to local needs and delivering better value for money. These might be services provided by, or on behalf of, a local authority.
Communities Minister Andrew Stunell said:
“The Community Right to Challenge gives communities another opportunity to be the driving force in the future of their local services. As the people who know their communities best and use and rely upon local services it makes sense, that where they feel they can run services better, they should be encouraged and supported to step in and do exactly that.”
A range of specialist support is being put in place to help community groups wanting to take greater control of their community through every stage of the process – from setting up a group and developing a proposal right through to the delivering services on the ground.
The Social Investment Business, in partnership with Locality and the Association of Chief Executives of Voluntary Organisations will deliver a three year support programme worth £11.5million. The programme will include a dedicated advice phone line at Tel: 0845 345 4564 where support and information will be available. It will also include grants to help groups to use the new right and bid to run local public services, resources, and case studies.
You can find out more about this and other Community Rights at the dedicated website set up by the Government.