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Petitions

We welcome petitions and recognise that they are one way in which people can let us know their concerns.

You can submit a petition direct to:

  • Democratic Services, Charnwood Borough Council, Southfield Road, Loughborough, LE11 2TX.

To ensure that people know what we are doing in response to the petitions we receive, the details of all the petitions submitted to us will be published on our website, except in cases where this would be inappropriate.

If more than one petition is received in time for a particular meeting, each supporting the same outcome on one matter, each petition organiser will be treated as an independent petition organiser but only the petition organiser of the first petition will be invited to address the meeting.


What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

Petitions submitted to us must include:

  • a clear and detailed statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners would like us to take
  • the name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. These details will not be placed on the website
  • an indication of whether it is intended to be:
    • A local petition: 20 signature minimum
    • An ordinary petition: 100 signatures minimum
    • A petition holding an officer to account: 2000 signatures minimum
    • A petition forcing debate at a full council meeting: 3000 signatures minimum

People signing the petition must either live, work or study in the borough and can only sign each petition once. Any officers being held to account must be specified.

If a petition does not follow the guidelines set out above, we may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, we will write to you to explain the reasons.


Exemptions

We reserve the right to reject petitions which:

  • are not concerned with an issue which affects the borough or do not raise matters over which the Authority has responsibility or has some influence
  • are false, illegal, abusive, frivolous, offensive or relate to a specific licensing or planning application
  • relate to the same issue or subject as a petition which has been received in the last 12 months
  • request that we do something which conflicts with our policy

If the petition applies to a planning or licensing application, is a statutory requirement or is on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal, other procedures apply.

If your petition is about something that a different council or other organisation 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 what action has been taken.

If you wish to raise issues of possible borough or parish councillor misconduct under the members’ code of conduct, you can telephone the Monitoring Officer on 01509 634699 or make a complaint.


What will you do when you receive my petition?

An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within ten working days of receipt, letting them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from us again.

  • 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 debate, or a senior officer being held to account, 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


How will the council respond?

Our response to a petition will depend on what it 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 our cabinet or appropriate scrutiny committee
  • writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition

If your petition is about something over which we have no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) we will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body.

We work 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 then we will let you know.


Full council debates

If a petition contains more than 3000 signatures it will be debated by the full council (unless it is a petition asking for a senior officer to give evidence at a public meeting). This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all councillors can attend.

We hope to consider the petition at our next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible until the following meeting. The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting.

We will decide how to respond to the petition, either by taking the action the petition requests, not taking the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or commissioning further investigation into the matter.

Where the issue is one where our cabinet is required to make the final decision, we will decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision.


Officer evidence

Your petition may ask for one of our senior officers to give evidence at a public meeting. Examples of this may be explaining the progress of an issue or the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision.

If your petition is of this nature and contains at least 2000 signatures, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at the relevant scrutiny committee. If you are unsure which senior officer is responsible for a particular service, please contact Democratic Services.

You should be aware that the scrutiny committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition – for instance if the named officer has changed jobs. The committee may also decide to call the relevant councillor to attend 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 our Scrutiny Management Board review the steps taken in response to your petition. 

A short explaination why the petition organiser thinks our response was not considered to be adequate will improve the chances of a review. Once the appeal has been considered they will be informed of the results within five working days.

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