Communities and Local Government Committee - Mutual and cooperative approaches to delivering local servicesSupplementary written evidence from the Department for Communities and Local Government

It was a pleasure to appear before your committee recently as part of the inquiry you are holding on co-operative councils and the scope for co-operatives and mutuals to play a greater role in service delivery.

I spoke a little about the support that my department has put in place to support the new powers for communities introduced in the Localism Act and the level of enquiries we have received to date and wanted to provide you with updated figures for both.

The support service for the Community Right to Challenge had received 584 enquiries up to the end of August—the figure of 400 which I quoted was the most recent figure we had at the time, which referred to calls to the end of July. Additionally, the Community Ownership and Management of Assets Programme, which supports groups with an interest in taking over land and buildings through the Community Right to Bid or through asset transfer from a local authority has received 404 enquiries as of the 24 August. I think this demonstrates that there is significant appetite within communities to take up this agenda and we hope to support many of them to do so.

During my evidence I referred to Expressions of Interest from groups in relation to enquiries to the advice service. The term Expression of Interest is also the term used in the localism Act and related guidance to refer to a formal written proposal to a local authority under the Right to Challenge from a group interested in running a service. I was not referring to these formal written proposals, but rather to enquiries from interested parties to our support line. We do not require Local Authorities to notify us of Expressions of Interest and, whilst we are following developments on the Community Rights, we are not maintaining a central record of these.

Thank you once again for the opportunity to talk about this agenda. I look forward to talking about Localism and Community rights in more detail in the future.

October 2012

Prepared 6th December 2012