»

Petitions

Torridge District Council welcomes petitions from those who live, work, or study in the Torridge area.

The following matters are excluded from this Petition Scheme:

  • any matter relating to a planning decision
  • any matter relating to a licensing decision
  • any other matter relating to any individual or entity in respect of which that individual or entity has a right of recourse to review or right of appeal conferred by or under any enactment

We have produced a petition template that can be downloaded on the right of this page.

Our adopted Petition Scheme is as follows:

Petition Scheme

1. Petitions

The Council welcomes petitions and recognises that they are a way in which people can let the Council know their concerns. All petitions must be submitted in accordance with this guidance and can be in electronic form or paper form and sent to:

The Senior Solicitor,

Torridge District Council,

Riverbank House,

Bideford,

Devon.

EX39 2QG

or: Dem.Services@torridge.gov.uk

Petitions can also be presented to a meeting of Full Council. These meetings take place on a six weekly basis, dates and times can be found here http://www.torridge.gov.uk/CHttpHandler.ashx?id=5333&p=0.

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 01237 428705 at least 10 working days before the meeting and they will talk you through the process.

2. Content

2.1 Petitions submitted to the Council must:-

  • include a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition stating what action the petitioners wish the Council to take;

  • should be accompanied by the name, address, and contact details of the petition organiser; and

  • contain a minimum of 50 signatures of persons who live, work or study in the District and who support the petition.

3. Petition Organiser

The Petition Organiser is the person the Council will contact to explain how it 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, the Council will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the Petition Organiser.

4. Restrictions

4.1 A petition may be rejected if the Council consider that the petition:-

  • contains intemperate, inflammatory, abusive or provocative language;

  • is defamatory, frivolous, vexatious, discriminatory or otherwise offensive, or contains false statements;

  • is too similar to another petition submitted within the last six months;

  • discloses confidential or exempt information, including information protected by a court order or government department;

  • discloses material which is otherwise commercially sensitive;

  • contains names of individual citizens as the target of the petition, or provides information where they may be easily identified, e.g. officers or public bodies;

  • contains advertising statements;

  • refers to an issue which is currently the subject of a formal Council complaint, Local Government Ombudsman complaint or any legal proceedings;

  • relates to the Council's Planning or Licensing functions as there are separate statutory processes in place for dealing with these matters;

  • does not relate to an issue upon which the Council has powers or duties or on which it has shared delivery responsibilities; or

  • has already been the subject of debate by Full Council within the last six months.

4.2 During politically sensitive periods, such as prior to an election or referendum, politically controversial material may need to be restricted.

4.3 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, the Council will write to you to explain the reasons.

5. On Receipt of a Petition

5.1 An acknowledgement will be sent to the Petition Organiser within ten working days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what the Council plans to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from the Council again.

5.2 To ensure that people know what the Council is doing in response to the petitions received, the details of all the petitions submitted will be published on the website, except in cases where this would be inappropriate. Whenever possible the Council will also publish all correspondence relating to the petition (all personal details, except the name, will be removed).

5.3 If the Council can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgement may confirm that the Council has taken the action requested and the petition will be closed. If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a Council debate (over 3,000 signatures), then the acknowledgment will confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place. If the petition needs more investigation, the Council will tell you the steps it plans to take. If more than one petition is received on the same subject matter within a 7 day period, if appropriate, they will be amalgamated which may trigger a Council debate as above.

5.4 If the petition relates to action currently being progressed by the Council and the petition triggers with a debate at Full Council, then the action will be suspended pending the debate, save in relation to statutory, contractual or other legal situations, where suspension would prejudice the Council's position.

 

6. Council's Response to Petitions

6.1 The Council's 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 the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee

  • calling a referendum

  • writing to the petition organiser setting out the Council's views about the request in the petition

6.2 If your petition is about something over which the Council has no direct control (for example the local road network or hospital) it will give consideration to what the best method is for responding to it is. The Council may make 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 the Council is not able to do this for any reason (for example if what the petition calls for conflicts with Council policy), then it will set out the reasons for this to you.

6.3 If your petition is about something that a different Council is responsible for, the Council will give consideration to what the best method is for responding to it. It might consist of simply forwarding the petition to the other Council, but could involve other steps. In any event the Council will always notify you of the action it has taken.

7. Full Council debates

7.1 If a petition contains more than 3,000 signatures, it will be debated by the full Council at a subsequent meeting within 3 months of receiving the petition. This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which Councillors and the public can attend. The Petition Organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by Councillors in accordance with Council Procedure Rules as contained.

7.2 The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to commission further investigation into the matter the petition requests, refer the matter to a relevant Committee for further consideration and/or decision, or decide not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate. The Petition Organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision. This confirmation will also be published on the Council's website.