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The petition process allows members of the public to have direct influence on the political process and to raise concerns that are important to them. A petition is defined as a communication in writing or using an electronic facility which is signed by the appropriate number of qualifying persons.
Any Councillor or any elector of the borough may present a petition to a meeting of the Council if it relates to something which affects the functions, inhabitants or area of the authority and is signed by people who are not Councillors.
Anyone who lives, works or studies in Allerdale, including under 18s, can sign or organise a petition. However, the minimum age of a person who can sign the petition is ten.
Essentially there are three types of petitions:
'Ordinary' Petitions - These must be signed by at least 10 people but the Council will use its discretion where there are fewer than 10 signatories in cases where there is clear local support for action (e.g. where all 8 residents of an isolated community have petitioned for traffic calming measures)
Petitions requiring debate - Petitions which contain 1000 signatures or more will be debated by full Council
Petitions to hold Council employees to account - Petitions which call for evidence from a senior Council employee and have at least 500 signatures will trigger that response.
What can a petition be about?
Members of the public can submit petitions on the following:
- Issues relating to the council's responsibilities
- Issues which affect the borough or communities in Allerdale, as long as the Council is in a position to exercise some degree of influence
- Anything relating to an improvement in the economic, social or environmental well-being of the area to which any of the Council's partners could contribute.
The Council will respond to all the petitions it receives. We will be as flexible as we can when handling your petition so that it is considered quickly and in the most appropriate way.
How do I submit a petition?
Petitions can be either paper or electronic. Paper petitions must include a signature and the signatory's name and address. This can be an address where the signatory lives, works or studies. If the petition is in electronic form it may be made using the Council's e-petition facility, although it is recognised that other online electronic petition facilities are available. The Council is happy to accept these provided the petition submitted to the Council complies fully with the Petition Scheme.
All petitions must include a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition and should state what action the petitioners wish the Council to take.
They should be accompanied by contact details including an address for the petition organiser or someone to whom you would like any correspondence about the petition to be sent. Contact details may be either a postal address or an email address.
Paper petitions can be sent to Democratic Services at our main office.
'Ordinary' petitions - to have a petition presented to a Council meeting, notice must be given, and the petition handed in to Democratic Services at least 14 clear working days before the Council meeting. This is to ensure that it is a valid petition and that it is put on the agenda for the meeting.
Dates and times of meetings can be found in this site's Council and Democracy area. If you would like to present your petition to the Council or would like a Councillor to present it on your behalf, Democratic Services can help you with the process at firstname.lastname@example.org
Before submitting a petition you should first check with your local Councillor or with the Council to see if the Council is already acting on your concerns and that the Council is the most appropriate body to receive your petition.
What will the Council do when it receives my petition?
All petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement from the Council within 14 days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition.
If the petition needs more investigation, we will tell you the steps we plan to take.
Depending on the subject matter, in the vast majority of cases your petition will be submitted to one of the Council's formal member meetings either full Council, the Executive or Overview and Scrutiny.
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 Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee review the steps that the Council has taken in response to your petition.
The request should include a short explanation of the reasons as to why the Council's response is not considered to be adequate. The request must be received at least 10 clear working days before the next meeting of Overview and Scrutiny.
The Overview and Scrutiny Committee will try to consider your request at its next meeting although this may not always be possible. Should members feel that the Council has 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 Executive or arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full Council.