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Petitions scheme

The Council welcomes petitions 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 within 10 working days of receipt. This will set out what we plan to do with the petition and when you can expect to hear from us again.

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 and contains details and signatures of two or more people. The people who sign the petition must live, work or study in Leicester. However, where a matter may impact significantly beyond the city boundary, the City Mayor may exercise discretion to take the views of stakeholders outside the city into account. We categorise our petitions as follows – further details on these categories are explained in more detail later in this scheme:

Category Signatory threshold Description
Petition which triggers a debate 1,500 Any petition above this threshold will trigger a debate at Full Council
Petition which calls an officer to account 750 – 1499 Any petition above this threshold will summon a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting
Standard petition 2- 749 A petition requesting action or response by the Council

 

What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

  • Petitions submitted to the Council must include:
  • a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. (We refer to this statement as the Petition Prayer). It should state what action the petitioners wish the Council to take.
  • For paper petitions each signatory sheet should contain the petition prayer as evidence that the signatory has read and understood it.
  • details of each person supporting the petition including:
    • their name and;
    • their signature and;
    • their qualifying address (the qualifying address will be an address in the City where they work, live or study).

The petition organiser must submit their full contact details, including an address. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. The petition organiser should make clear that they live, study at an educational establishment or have a business address, within the city boundary. If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact the first signatory 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 Please read our Terms and Conditions (Appendix A) before submitting a petition.
  • 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 not be able to do anything further with In that case, we will write to you to explain the reasons.
  • Before organising it would be advisable to first check with your local Councillor or with the City Council to see if action is already being taken in relation to your concerns and to determine if the Council is the most appropriate organisation to receive your petition.

How can I submit my petition?

Paper petitions

Must be sent to: Democratic Support City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ.

e-Petitions

 A petition can be created, signed and submitted online via the Council’s website or via other online sites as long as it meets the qualifying criteria set out below.

The petition organiser must ensure that their e-petition is configured in such a way to meet the criteria that signatories live, work or study in the City. If you are signing an e- petition you will be required to provide us with basic personal information (an email address and an address including postcode). Each signatory must give a separate email address. We will only use the information you provide to validate your signature and that you live, work or study in the City.

You can only sign an e-petition once. The list of signatories will be checked by officers and any duplicate signatures or vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate content will be removed.

Further guidance in relation to creating e-Petitions is available on the city council’s website.

The person organising the e-petition should set a clear end date to the petition, (no- longer than 6 months) before submitting to the Council. When the ‘live’ period is over, the way in which the Council responds, as with paper petitions, will depend on how many signatures are submitted.

If you are creating a petition on an online site, when you are ready to submit it please email committees@leicester.gov.uk with a link to the site and attaching a copy of all signatories downloaded by the petition organiser. After this point the verification process will commence.

How will the Council respond to petitions?

Once a petition is received it will be checked to see if it meets the criteria defined in the Scheme and the Appendices. If there are any concerns about the validity of a petition, for example where key information is missing, the Council’s Monitoring Officer will be consulted and will determine if the petition is valid. We will inform you if we consider the petition to be invalid and the reason why.

Following the above, and within 10 working days of receiving the petition, an acknowledgement will be sent to the lead petitioner. Once the petition has been verified and acknowledged no further signatures can be added to the petition.

To ensure that people know what we are doing in response to the petitions we receive, details of petitions submitted to us will be published on our website, except in cases where this would be inappropriate. The name of the petition organiser will be placed on the website but not their contact details.

Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it. These responses can include:

  • taking the action that is requested in the petition,
  • undertaking further research into the matter,
  • referring the petition for consideration by one of the Council’s scrutiny committees,
  • or consideration in some form of public

If the council can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgement will confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed.

If the council has not yet taken the action requested and 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 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. You can find more information on the services for which the Council is responsible from the Council’s website.

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.

You may also verbally submit your petition at a relevant meeting of the Council or its committees. Meetings take place on a regular basis and dates and times are published on the Council’s website. Where this happens, regardless of the number of signatures, the text of the petition is read out at the meeting following which, without any debate on the issues, the Committee asks the relevant officer to prepare a formal written response to the petition.

If you would like to present your petition to a Council meeting or would like your Councillor or someone else to present it on your behalf, please contact Democratic Support on 0116 4546350 at least 10 working days before the meeting and they will talk you through the process.

The above actions will be taken for all petitions but where the petition falls into a higher threshold of signatures the following will apply.

For Petitions between 750-1499 signatories Officer evidence

If a petition contains between 750 – 1499 valid signatures the lead petitioner may ask that the relevant senior officer be called to give evidence at a public meeting of the Council. This may be an Overview Select Committee, scrutiny commission or other meeting as determined by the Monitoring Officer.

The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting, following this there will be an opportunity for the Director to respond for a maximum of 5 minutes, with the petition then discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 10 further minutes. The Committee will then decide how to respond to the petition at the meeting and may:

  • request the Executive to undertake the action the petition requests, or not, for reasons put forward in the debate, or
  • recommend that further investigation is undertaken into the matter by the

A scrutiny committee has no power to make decisions on actions to be undertaken by the Council or Executive.

For Petitions with 1,500 or more signatories Full Council debates

If a petition contains 1,500 or more valid signatures the petition organiser may ask that it be debated by the full Council . This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all Councillors can attend. In such cases petitions must be received by the Council at least 10 working days before the date of the Council meeting.

The Council will normally endeavour to consider the petition at its next meeting, although where this is not possible, consideration will then take place at the following meeting. The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 15 further minutes. 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 City Mayor is required to make the final decision, the Council may note the petition or make recommendations to the City Mayor. Council cannot make decisions where the subject matter of a petition falls to the Executive to decide.

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 you may write to the Council’s Monitoring Officer at the address below:

Kamal Adatia, City Barrister & Head of Standards Leicester City Council, City Hall, Leicester, LE1 1FZ.

How else can I have my say?

The Council offers a range of ways in which members of the public can make their voice heard. These include:

Details of the above can also be accessed by contacting:

  • Democratic Support, Leicester City Council, City Hall, 115 Charles Street, Leicester, LE1 1FZ
  • 0116 454 6350