Who can submit an expression of interest?
The following groups can submit an expression:
- A voluntary or community body, including social enterprise
- A charitable group or trust
- A parish council
- Two or more employees of the local authority responsible for the service delivery
When can I express an interest?
You can submit an expression at any time. However, we may also specify periods during which expressions of interest to deliver a particular service can be submitted – eg a window of opportunity. If this happens, we'll publish the deadline for submitting an expression of interest, and also the dates on which the procurement exercise will start and finish. We'll determine the timeframes and deadlines.
How will I know if an expression of interest has been successful?
We'll respond in writing. It's also worth noting that we can only reject the expression of interest on the grounds set out in the regulations.
What grounds do you have for rejecting an expression of interest?
We can only reject it if:
- The expression of interest doesn't comply with any of the requirements specified in the Act or in regulations
- The relevant body provides information in the expression which, in our opinion, is in a material particular inadequate or inaccurate
- We consider, based on the information in the expression, that the relevant body or, any member of the consortium of which it's a part, or any sub-contractor referred to, is not suitable to provide or assist in providing the relevant service
- It relates to a relevant service where a decision, evidenced in writing, has been taken by the relevant authority to stop providing that service
- It 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 well-being of those persons
- We've published our intention to consider the provision of the relevant service by a body that two or more of our specified employees propose to establish
What happens after someone expresses an interest?
We'll be legally obliged to consider it. While considering it, we may find that some modifications to the proposals would be required in order to avoid grounds for rejection. In this case we'll discuss these with the applicant, who can then decide whether or not to modify it.
Should social value be considered in the procurement exercise?
As good practice, we've always considered social value during procurement exercises. We're committed to finding the ‘best value for money’ solution through the provision of services – this doesn't always mean the cheapest tender price, but the service ‘package’ as a whole.
The recent Social Value Act now makes it mandatory for us to consider social, economic or environmental benefits. We, along with the Voluntary and Community Sector Assembly, welcome this as a real opportunity for voluntary and community groups to design more creative services that lead to a better experience for service users.
I'm still confused about the Right to Challenge...
It's important to remember that the Right to Challenge doesn't give relevant bodies a right to deliver public services on our behalf. Instead, it allows community and/or voluntary groups to work with us to suggest ways in which services could be improved, and develop a plan to harness the strengths of citizens and communities to improve service delivery.
Further detail can be obtained from the 'Community Right to Challenge: Statutory Guidance' document published by the government.