Petitions - guidance on preparing a paper / online petition

Who can submit a Petition?

Any resident can submit a petition. Children can also submit and sign petitions.

Petitions on planning applications, petitioners may include non-residents who have an interest in the application, for example, the applicant, the applicant's agent, the owner of the property etc.

The ePetitioning system makes a petition available to a potentially much wider audience, giving you the opportunity to gather more names in support. It also allows the principal petitioner the opportunity to provide background information, including links to other web sites or photographs.

You can run an online petition at the same time as a paper petition, combining the two before submitting them to the Council.

Two versions of the same petition will not be published by the council at the same time.

What should a Petition contain?

A petition should include a brief title and a short statement covering the subject matter of the petition. The petition should clearly state what action the petitioner wishes the council to take.

As with paper petitions, ePetitions, need the name and address of anyone supporting the petition - this is for checking purposes - but only the name and area will be shown on the site.

Petitions presented to the Council are public documents which any member of the public can ask to see.

Paper petitions must include the signature of each person supporting it and each sheet should also include a note telling people that the details they provide will only be used in connection with the petition and who the information will be shared with - that is the petition organiser and the Council. This note is a Fair Processing Notice under the Data Protection Act - an example is

Data Protection Act 1998

The Data Controller is the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames
The details you provide on this form will only be used in connection with

(insert short description of ALL the purposes you want or intend to use this information for)
Your information may be shared with (brief description - eg the principal petitioner's name).

Data Protection Contact: Records Manager & Data Protection Officer

Petitions will be rejected if they are defamatory, frivolous or offensive. Petitioners will be told in writing why a petition cannot be accepted.

In the six weeks before an election local authorities cannot publish any material which may support any political party or apoint of view which may be assocaited with any political party.

Promoting the ePetition

Just as with paper petitions, the responsibility for publicising the ePetition lies with the petition organiser.

If you are promoting your ePetition by email, through newsgroups or discussion boards it is suggested that you only post information about your ePetition to others who are likely to have an interest in the ePetition. It is not appropriate to send messages indiscriminately to multiple mailing lists, individuals or news groups.

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What happens once the signatures have been collected?

For ePetitions, the principal petitioner should set a closing date. Once that closing date has been reached, the list of signatures and comments will be printed off and sent to the principal petitioner who should then arrange for it to be submitted as appropriate.

Principal petitioners may wish to set their petition's time limit to coincide with a particular Council meeting., Executive meeting or other meeting - eg a Neighbourhood Committee. Dates of meetings are on the Your Council pages of the website and are also available at Libraries and Council offices. 

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What is the process for submitting the Petition?

Petitions can be presented by the principal petitioner or by a councillor on his or her behalf at a meeting of Council meeting. Executive meeting or other meeting - eg a Neighbourhood Committee. or sent to the appropriate department at the council.

If a petition relates to a planning application, the petition will be considered at the meeting of the Development Control Committee or Neighbourhood Planning meeting, at which the planning application itself is considered.

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How many names should be on the Petition?

There is no maximum number of names on a petition. On average the Council would expect the minimum to be 15, however this depends on the issue at hand.

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What can a Petition be about?

Petitions should be about a service which the Council provides either by itself or which it shares the responsibility for with a partner organisation.

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What happens once the Petition is submitted?

Once the petition has been submitted to the Council, it will be referred to the Execuitive, Neighbourhood Committee or council officer, for consideration. Feedback will be publicised on the ePetitioner website once the details are available.

Full details of how petitions are handled is set out in the Council's Petition Scheme.

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What Can Petitions Achieve?

Petitions submitted to the council inform debate and can have positive outcomes that lead to change. For example, they can:

  • bring an issue to the attention of the council for them to consider, e.g. traffic calming measures or a new public swimming pool
  • demonstrate strong public approval or disapproval to something that the council is doing
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Problems registering with the ePetition system

If you have registered with the ePetition system but do not appear to have received your confirmation e-mail, please check the 'Junk Mail' folder of your e-mail programme.

I've signed the petition but haven't received the e-mail to confirm my signature

If you have signed an ePetition but do not appear to have received your confirmation e-mail, please check the 'Junk Mail' folder of your e-mail programme.