Community rights and the Localism Act

How local communities can use the powers given to them by the Localism Act.

The Localism Act 2011 strengthened the role of local communities in decision-making on public services. It introduced a range of new powers and possibilities for both local communities and local authorities

Community right to challenge

As part of the Localism Act 2011 The Community Right to Challenge enables community and voluntary groups, parish councils or two or more members of staff from a local authority or fire and rescue service, to express an interest in running a local authority service in order to help deliver it differently, or more effectively, to better meet local needs. The council will then consider the expression of interest and, if accepted, a procurement exercise will begin.

The council provides details of opportunities to run council services via the Oxfordshire providers, which includes information on council services already provided by other organisations. Where the contract for these services is coming to an end, expressions of interest are welcome six months before the contract end date.

Where the service is still provided directly by the council expressions of interest can be made at any time.

Expressions of interest should include specific information that will be set out by the council in compliance with the regulations.  The application form and process is explained on the providers pages.

If you have queries about how to use the community right to challenge please contact the county council’s Procurement Team. They will be able to help you find and apply for any opportunities to provide council services.

Right to bid for community assets

The Community Right to Bid gives certain local groups (such as parish councils and community interest groups with a local connection) a right to nominate a building or other land for listing by their local authority as an asset of community value. If the nomination is successful, when the asset is put up for sale those local groups may request an interest and will be given more time to raise finance and prepare to bid for that asset.

An asset of community value is a building (or land) that currently furthers the social wellbeing or social interests (i.e. culture, recreation, sport) of the local community and can continue, realistically, to do so.

In Oxfordshire the responsibility of managing this provision lies with District Councils. For more information on how to nominate an asset of community value, contact your local district council: