How far do you want to take localism?
Have your say on new community rights to challenge and run local services, and a community right to buy vital local assets
The Community Right to Challenge and Community Right to Buy are two key elements of the Localism Bill, designed to hand power back to local people and make the Big Society a reality. Consultation documents have now been published seeking views on how these Rights should work in practice.
The Community Right to Challenge opens the door to a potential transformation in the way that local public services are run, giving community and voluntary sector groups, as well as parish councils and council employees, new powers to challenge and take over a local service. This could include running children's centres, social care services, or improving local transport links. Under the new law, councils must respond to this challenge and consider the positive impact the proposal could have on the community. If the proposal is turned down the council must publish the reasons for this. The consultation also considers issues such as:
- which services should not be subject to challenge
- what information should be included in an expression of interest
- how long a local authority has to consider an expression of interest
- possible reasons for modifying or rejecting an expression of interest
Under the Community Right to Buy, local groups will have a legal right to nominate any vital community asset - including local shops, pubs, libraries and leisure centres - to be assessed for recording on a 'most wanted' list by the local council. The asset could then be listed for five years. In that time, the owner of a listed asset will have to tell the council if they intend to sell, which will trigger a window of opportunity, or 'community countdown', giving people time to prepare their business plan and raise the funds they need to make a credible bid before it goes on the open market. The Community Right to Buy consultation is consider a number of elements, including:
- who should be able to nominate land or buildings for the 'most wanted list', and how
- who should be able to trigger the 'community countdown' and whether community groups should be able to buy an asset during that period, before it goes on the open market
- what type of land and buildings should be excluded from being put on the list.
- how long the ‘community countdown' for community groups should be
Both consultations will run for 12 weeks and you have until 3 May to submit your views. The consultation documents can be viewed on the website of the Dept for Communities and Local Government.