The Right to Challenge was introduced by the government to make it easier for voluntary and community groups or council employees to bid to run council services.

Portsmouth City Council must consider expressions of interest submitted under Community Right to Challenge 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 procurement exercise.

The following groups are all eligible to express an interest in bidding to run a particular Portsmouth City Council service:

  • 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
  • voluntary body, where activities are not carried out for profit; any surplus is used for the purposes of its activities or invested in the community
  • community body, where activities are primarily for the benefit of the local community.

The terms voluntary and community bodies cover a wide range of civil society organisations, not a public or local authority. The term reflects the characteristics of such bodies rather than their organisational structure, to allow 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 society)
  • co-operatives whose activities are primarily for the benefit of the community (another type of industrial and provident society)
  • community interest companies;
  • charitable incorporated organisations
  • other incorporated forms of body such as companies limited by guarantee or shares where the company’s Memorandum or Articles of Association state that the company’s objects are in the interest of the community, rather than to make a profit for shareholders.

GOV.UK provides more information on regulations and guidance for Right to Challenge.