UPDATED: 29 JUNE 2012
COMMUNITY RIGHT TO CHALLENGE COMES INTO FORCE
The Community Right to Challenge has come into force. It hands more power back to local (parish and town) councils and communities, to express an interest in taking over the running of local principal authority services, making services more responsive to local needs and delivering better value for money.
Also to come into force is a range of specialist support that is being put in place to help local councils and 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 £11.5m.
The programme will include a dedicated advice phone line 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.
Andrew Stunell MP, communities minister, 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.
"Already we have seen some excellent achievements from local people taking the reins, and with these revolutionary rights now in place we can look forward to more communities getting involved in making their local areas better places to live."
Cllr Michael Chater OBE, chairman of NALC, said: "The Community Right to Challenge paves the way for local councils and communities to play a bigger part in shaping local services around their needs.
"Principal authorities do not have to have a monopoly over the best ideas and the most creative are already welcoming innovative ideas from local councils and communities about how services can be reformed and improved to better meet local need.
"This marks the next step in returning power back to citizens, communities and local groups to manage their own affairs free from central government interference."
The Community Right to Challenge was introduced by the Localism Act 2011 which was enacted on 15 November 2011. Regulations were laid in Parliament on 30 April and 17 May 2012. A plain English guide to the Localism Act is available at: www.communities.gov.uk/publications/localgovernment/localismplainenglishupdate.
To find out more information about the new powers and opportunities available to communities see: www.communityrights.communities.gov.uk and for practical help in using the Community Right to Challenge see: http://mycommunityrights.org.uk/community-right-to-challenge/
The dedicated advice phone line for support on Community Right to Challenge has also beenset up at: 0845 345 4564.