We welcome petitions and we recognise that these are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. All petitions sent or presented to us will receive an acknowledgement within 14 days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition.
Petitions can be sent by mail, handed to a councillor or be an e-petition.
Petitions must include:
- A clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition
- A statement of what action the petitioners wish the council to take
- The contact details (including address) of the person organising the petition. This person will be contacted in response to the petition
- The name, address and the signature of any person supporting the petition. An address can be a place of residence, work or study
If the petition does not state a petition organiser we will contact the first person to sign the petition.
Petitions which are considered to be antagonistic, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.
If a petition does not follow the guidelines set out above the Council may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, we will write to explain the reasons.
We have an e-petitions system where petitions can be submitted and 'signed'. e-petitions must follow the same guidelines as paper petitions.
You will also need to decide how long you would like your petition to be open for signatures (a maximum of three months will be allowed). When you create an e-petition it may take five working days before it is published online. This is because we have to check that the content of your petition is suitable before it is made available for signing.
If we feel we cannot publish your petition we will contact you to explain. You will be able to change and resubmit your petition if you wish.
Handing in a petition
Please send paper petitions to:
The Chief Executive
Submit to a Councillor
Petitions can be presented by a Councillor at a meeting of the full council. Browse meetings pages for dates and times of these meetings. If you would like a Councillor to present your petition you can find your Councillors and contact them by email.
It would be helpful if arrangements are made at the latest by five working days before the meeting.
Signing an e-petition
When you sign an e-petition you will be asked to provide your name, postal address and a valid email address. When you have submitted this information, you will be sent an email to the email address you have provided.
This email will include a link which you must click on in order to confirm the email address is valid. Once this step is complete your 'signature' will be added to the petition.
What happens when we receive petitions
An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within 14 days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from us again.
For e-petitions, a petition acknowledgement and response will be emailed to everyone who has signed the e-petition and opted to receive this information. The acknowledgment and response will also be published on this website.
If we can do what your petition asks, the acknowledgement may confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed. If the petition needs more investigation we will tell you the steps we plan to take.
If the petition applies to a planning or licensing application, is a legal petition (for example, requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor), or on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal, such as Council Tax banding and non-domestic rates, other procedures apply.
Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it. A response may include one or more of the following:
- Taking the action requested in the petition
- Considering the petition at a council meeting
- Holding an inquiry into the matter
- Undertaking research into the matter
- Holding a public meeting
- Holding a meeting with petitioners
- Referring the petition for consideration by the council's overview and scrutiny committee
- Writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition
If the petition reaches 10, 000 signatures or more it will be raised in a Full Council debate.
If your petition is about non-Council services or something the Council has no direct control over we may make representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body.
The Council works with a large number of local partners and we will work with these partners to respond to your petition where possible.
If we are not able to do this for any reason (for example, if what the petition calls for should conflict with Council policy), then we will set out the reasons for this to you.
In the event your petition is about something that a different council is responsible for we will consider what the best method for responding to it is. This might consist of simply forwarding the petition to the other council, but could involve other steps. In any event we will always notify you of the action we have taken.
If a petition contains 10,000 signatures or more it will be debated by the Full Council. (The exception to this is when the petition asks for a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting.)
A petition with 10,000 or more signatures will be discussed at a meeting which all Councillors can attend. You can suggest questions to be asked at the meeting by contacting Democratic Services.
The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to take the requested action, give reasons put forward in the debate why no action will be taken, or decide to further investigation into the matter.
The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision. This confirmation will also be published on our website.
Asking senior Council officers to give evidence
Your petition may ask for a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something that the officer is responsible for. For example, your petition may ask a senior Council officer to explain progress on an issue, or to explain the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision.
If your petition contains 1,000 signatures or more, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a public meeting of the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
See the Council directors page for a list of the senior staff who can be called to give evidence. The Overview and Scrutiny Committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition.
Committee members will ask the questions at this meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions to the chair of the committee by contacting Democratic Services.
Appealing petition responses
If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the council's relevant Overview and Scrutiny Committee review the steps Council has taken in response to your petition.
The Committee will consider your request within 30 days of receiving it. Should the Committee determine we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter.
Once your request has been considered, the petition organiser will be informed of the results within seven days.
This scheme is subject to review by the Council.