Guidance for creating petitions, what to include and the process we follow
What are petitions?
Members of the public may present the council or a committee with a petition and upon giving at least 7 clear working day notice in writing all valid petitions will be consider by a relevant committee.
Petitions must concern a matter which relates to a function carried out by Central Bedfordshire Council or relate to an improvement in the economic, social or environmental well-being of the Authority’s area to which any of its partner authorities could contribute.
Some petitions are not accepted, this is generally where there fall into one of the following categories:
- the petition is vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate
- the petition is the same as, or has a substantially similar effect to a petition which has been made to us within a period of six months ending with the date on which the petition was made to us
- the petition breaches data protection, libel or the Authority’s statutory requirement, as a public body, to comply with equalities and anti-discrimination legislation.
Petitions are normally considered by a particular relevant committee, although petitions containing more than 1,250 signatures must be debated by Full Council.
What to include
When submitting a paper petition you should address it to the Monitoring Officer or the Assistant Director of Governance Services. Once it has been submitted it will be reviewed to ensure that it is valid. For a paper petition to be valid you must:
- include a clear and concise statement on the subject of the petition and what action you wish us to take
- include at least 10 valid signatures from people who live, work or study in Central Bedfordshire, this must include the person’s name and address and the date of signature)
- designate one of the people who has signed the petition as the person with whom the Council will correspond in relation to the petition
You can email written petitions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post them to:
Committee Services Team
Central Bedfordshire Council
What happens when I submit a petition?
You will receive a written acknowledgment within 3 clear working days of the date we received the petition. This will provide information about what we propose to do in response to the petition, including the date and time at which the petition will be considered and the committee that will consider your petition. The acknowledgement will also advise you of your right to speak at that meeting.
Petitions are normally presented by the lead petitioner, or someone nominated by the lead petitioner. This could include an elected Member. Speakers normally have 3 minutes to present the petition after which the petition is discussed for up to 10 minutes.
What can happen as a result of my petition?
Once your petition has been presented to a committee, we will take one of the following steps:
- undertake the action requested in the petition
- hold an enquiry
- commission further research
- hold a public meeting
- provide a response setting out our views on the petition
- refer the petition to another relevant committee
The lead petitioner is normally updated within 2 clear working days of the date on which the petition was discussed of our response.
What if I am not satisfied with the response to my petition?
If you are not satisfied with the response to your petition you can write to the Monitoring Officer or the Assistant Director of Governance Services by email at email@example.com to request that the response be reviewed by the next available meeting of the relevant overview and scrutiny committee.
An overview and scrutiny committee has several options when reviewing the response:
- to agree with the response to the petition
- to ask the Executive, relevant committee or us to reconsider the petition
- to recommendations a particular course of action
- to refer the matter to Full Council
Once the response to the petition has been reviewed by the overview and scrutiny committee you will receive a further response from us within 10 clear working days of the committee meeting.