Localism Bill allows community groups to challenge councils over public service delivery

New legislation will permit them to ask for competitive process for providing a service to be reopened

Parliament: Localism Bill due
Parliament: Localism Bill due

Voluntary groups and social enterprises will be given the right to challenge councils to let them deliver public services under plans in the Localism Bill, which will be introduced in Parliament today.

The Communities and Local Government department has confirmed that the new legislation will contain a "community right to challenge" under which third sector groups will be allowed to express an interest in delivering any of a local authority’s services.

The bill will say that councils must consider and respond to these challenges, which might mean opening a new competitive bidding process for delivery of the service that has been challenged. The group that made the challenge would then have to bid alongside other groups to run the service.

The bill will contain a "community right to buy", under which local groups will be given time to raise capital and bid to buy listed assets when they are put up for sale.

It will also include a "community right to build" that will let local community groups build new developments without needing planning permission, if they win the support of 50 per cent of local residents in a referendum.

The Localism Bill will also include provisions for funds from the Community Infrastructure Levy, which developers pay to councils when they build new projects in an area, to be passed to local neighbourhoods.

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