When ECDC receives an Expression of Interest (EoI) for service delegation it will be acknowledged and then the Council will:
1. accept the EoI; or
2. reject the EoI; or
3. modify the EoI if it is felt that it would not otherwise be capable of acceptance and the relevant body agrees to the modification.
Determination of the EoI will under normal circumstances take no more than ten months and will be considered in the first instance by the Council's Committee(s) to which the service reports with a final recommendation for a decision to Corporate Governance & finance Committee, following the process outlined in Appendix B of ECDC's Community Right to Challenge Protocol.
If ECDC believes an EoI has the potential to be accepted (i.e. it meets all of the requirements and none of the grounds to be rejected), the relevant body will be provided with a 'Service Specification' for the service under consideration. This is likely to include details such as current staffing levels, the service standards and the cost of providing the service.
Upon receipt of the 'Service Specification', the relevant body has six weeks to consider whether they still wish their EoI to be considered. During this time the relevant body may wish to contact the Council for further clarification regarding the EoI, for example, whether TUPE legislation applies and/or any pension implications of transfer.
By the end of the 6 weeks the relevant body must confirm in writing, their continued interest in exercising their Community Right to Challenge. Failure to do so will be regarded as a withdrawal of the EoI. Any future EoI submissions will then be considered during the next window of opportunity (i.e. the following September - November).
If the relevant body wishes to continue with the application, the District Council may consult with service users and the wider community. This is to ensure that the potential changes to service provision would have the support of those most likely to be affected and to assess the level of impact that the changes could have on differential groups, as per the Equality Act 2010 and the Equality Standard for Local Government. Any consultation process would be expected to take no more than six weeks.
ECDC will notify the applicant of the period of time it will take to make a decision on the EoI in writing within thirty days after the close of the period within which EoI applications are invited (i.e. before 31st December).
If the decision is to refuse the application, ECDC will specify the reasons for the decision and publish the decision on the Council's website. The grounds for an EoI to be rejected are set out in ECDC's Protocol and in The Community Right to Challenge Regulations.
If ECDC accepts the EoI, it will carry out a procurement exercise relating to the provision of that service in accordance with the Council's Constitution and Contract Procedure Rules. The body expressing the interest is not guaranteed to take over the service and whilst only 'not for profit' bodies can be the lead body to submit an EoI, any subsequent procurement process is open to all, including private companies and/or existing contractors.