Petitions

The council welcomes petitions from those who live, work or study in the Borough and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. All petitions sent or presented to the council will receive an acknowledgement from the council within 10 working days of receipt. This acknowledgement will include our process for dealing with the petition. We will treat something as a petition if it is identified as being a petition, or if it seems to us that it is intended to be a petition.

Paper petitions can be sent to:

Legal and Governance
Redcar and Cleveland House
Kirkleatham Street
Redcar
TS10 1RT

Petitions can also be presented to a meeting of the council. These meetings take place on a 6 weekly basis. If you would like to present your petition to the council, or would like your councillor or someone else to present it on your behalf, please contact Democratic Services on (01642) 444413 at least 10 days before the meeting and they will talk you through the process. If your petition has received 1500 signatures or more (this is reduced to 500 signatories or petitioners where the petition relates to a local issue, affecting no more than 2 electoral wards within the authoritys area) it will also be scheduled for a council debate and if this is the case we will let you know whether this will happen at the same meeting or a later meeting of the council.

You are now able to submit and sign a petition on the Councils website

What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

Petitions must be submitted and signed by those who live, work or study within the Borough.

Petitions must include:
  • a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish the council to take
  • the name and home address, or place of work or study and signature of any person supporting the petition.

Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. The contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed on the website. If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the petition organiser.

Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted. In the period immediately before an election or referendum we may need to deal with your petition differently if this is the case we will explain the reasons and discuss the revised timescale which will apply. 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 you to explain the reasons.


What will the council do when it receives my petition?

An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within 10 working 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.

The Protocol for handling petitions can be viewed or downloaded.

If we can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgement may confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed. If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a council debate, or a senior officer giving evidence, then the acknowledgment will confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place. 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 statutory 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.

We will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate and will explain the reasons for this in our acknowledgement of the petition.


How will the council respond to petitions?

Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it, but 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 consultation
  • holding a meeting with petitioners
  • referring the petition for consideration by a councils overview and scrutiny committee*
  • calling a referendum
  • writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition

*Overview and scrutiny committees are committees of councillors who are responsible for scrutinising the work of the council in other words, the overview and scrutiny committee has the power to hold the councils decision makers to account.

In addition to these steps, the council will consider all the specific actions it can potentially take on the issues highlighted in a petition.

If your petition is about something over which the council has no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) we will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body. The council works with a large number of local partners and where possible will work with these partners to respond to your petition. If we are not able to do this for any reason (for example if what the petition calls for conflicts with council policy), then we will set out the reasons for this to you.

If your petition is about something that a different council is responsible for we will give consideration to what the best method is for responding to it. 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.

Full Council debates

If a petition contains more than 1,500 signatures of people who live, work or study in the Borough (this is reduced to 500 such signatories or petitioners where the petition relates to a local issue, affecting no more than 2 electoral wards within the authoritys area) it will be debated by the full council unless it is a petition asking for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting or unless it is a petition asking for some other outcome. This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all councillors can attend. The council will endeavour to consider the petition at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will then take place at the following meeting. The petition organiser will be given up to five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by councillors for a period at the discretion of the Mayor or the Chair of the meeting. The council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to take the action the petition requests, not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee. Where the issue is one on which the council executive are required to make the final decision, the council will decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision. The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision.

Officer Evidence

Your petition may ask for a Senior Council Officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job. 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 at least 750 signatures of people who live, work or study in the Borough (this is reduced to 100 such signatories or petitioners where the petition relates to a local issue, affecting no more than 2 electoral wards within the authoritys area), the relevant Senior Officer will give evidence at a public meeting of a councils overview and scrutiny committee. The authority has determined that such petitions must relate to the Chief Executive, a Director or a Head of Service of the authority. Please note that where the petition raises issues of competence or misconduct, the petition will be referred to the Chief Executive (or to the Head of Human Resources in respect of the Chief Executive) and will be considered under the authoritys Disciplinary Procedures, and not under this Petitions Procedure The committee may also decide to call the relevant councillor to attend the meeting. 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 on 01642 444413 up to three working days before the meeting.

What can I do if I feel my petition has not been dealt with properly?

If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the councils overview and scrutiny committee review the steps that the council has taken in response to your petition. It is helpful to everyone, and can improve the prospects for a review if the petition organiser gives a short explanation of the reasons why the councils response is not considered to be adequate.

The committee will endeavour to consider your request at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will take place at the following meeting. Should the committee determine we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter. These powers include instigating an investigation, making recommendations to the council executive and arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full council.

Once the appeal has been considered the petition organiser will be informed of the results within 5 working days.


When should my petition be submitted?

If your petition is about a forthcoming decision, the petition will need to be received in advance of the decision to have a chance of influencing the outcome. Imminent key decisions are contained in the Forward Plan.


Verification Number

Each local authority is required to publish a verification number which is the figure representing 5% of the number of local government electors in the area. This is the minimum number of signatures needed to trigger a referendum for an Elected Mayor. The verification number is published each year during February. The number is for use between 1st April and 31st March following publication. Published Verification Number

Further information and advice:

Further advice on the operation of the petitions protocol can be obtained from the Principal Governance Officer at Redcar and Cleveland House.
Tel: (01642) 444092.
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Last updated:
20/06/2014

Assigned review date:
20/11/2014

Page Section:
The Council
Decision Making

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