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Submitting a petition

Explains the criteria for and how to submit a petition to the council. 

Can I submit a petition to the council?

Yes. East Riding of Yorkshire Council welcomes petitions as a way in which residents of the East Riding can make their concerns known and request that action be taken.

Petitions are documents (whether digital or physical) that contain details of issues that are important to communities and East Riding of Yorkshire as a whole, signed by local electors who are in support of the proposed action.

What are the rules and procedures for submitting a petition?

Anyone who is registered to vote in local elections (a local elector) can submit a petition.

Any local elector in the area affected by the contents of a petition can sign the petition. 

There are, however, four categories of petitions whose criteria must be met in order for the council to consider such a petition. 

Read more about what permissions must include:

Petitions must include the following:

  1. A clear and concise statement of the concern and what the petitioners would like the council to do in response. Petitions, therefore, must relate to something for which the council is responsible or over which the council has some influence. If the council receives a petition that does not relate to something under the council’s control or influence, it will be returned to the petition organiser with an explanation of the decision to do so.
  2. The name and contact details of a petition organiser. For the purpose of taking a petition forward, a petition organiser must be nominated (this is usually the person who starts the petition).
  3. The names and addresses of at least 10 local electors (including the person(s) organising the petition). Where petitions are presented in paper form, they must include petitioners’ actual signatures. Where an e-petition is submitted, a list of names and addresses will suffice. Only the person(s) organising the petition will be contacted in relation to the petition, but petitioners’ addresses are needed for the purpose of verifying the number of petitioners.
    Please note: where the term ‘signatures’ is used in this Scheme, read ‘names, addresses and signatures of petitioners’.
  4. If a petition is submitted in relation to a consultation or a matter which is under the council’s control but which is subject to a separate policy or procedure (such as planning), this should be made clear in order that it can be progressed in accordance with the relevant procedures. 

Before submitting a petition, the council would encourage residents to seek a resolution to any issue by:

  • contacting the council to see whether an ordinary service request would resolve the issue
  • contacting a relevant ward councillor(s) to see whether they can help. 

What types of petition are accepted by the council?

There are four different categories of petition that the council will accepted.

Strategic Petitions 

Strategic petitions relate to matters which affect the whole of the East Riding. Strategic petitions are more likely to relate to the ways in which the Council delivers services (policies and procedures) but could relate to any issue which affects the whole of the East Riding. Petitions of a strategic nature which attract the requisite number of signatures may be considered by one of the Council’s committees.  

Non-strategic Petitions

Non-strategic petitions relate to local issues which affect particular areas of the East Riding. Such petitions are more likely to relate to road and traffic issues or anti-social behaviour. Petitions of a non-strategic nature will be considered by relevant service areas within the council.

Statutory Petitions

Particular acts of Parliament require the council to consider petitions relating, for example, to a review of parish councils or changes to local governance structures. Statutory petitions will be considered according to the relevant statutes rather than this Scheme.

Exempt Petitions

Exempt petitions could relate to a range of issues and will be progressed accordingly. Where a petition is submitted in response to a consultation, planning application or any other matter which is governed by a separate process, it will be forwarded and taken as representation under the relevant procedures rather than those outlined in this Scheme. Otherwise, a petition could be considered exempt if it does not relate to something which is under the Council’s control or influence or if it matches any of the exemptions defined later in this Scheme.

Read more:

Exempt petitions will relate to a consultation, planning application, licensing application or traffic regulation order. The reason that petitions relating to these issues are considered exempt is that there are policies and procedures in place which supersede this Petition Scheme. 

For example, if a petition is received in relation to a planning application, it will be considered as part of the consultation process associated with the planning application. In this way, most exempt petitions are not rejected, but considered according to the appropriate policies and procedures. 

What petitions will not be accepted by the council?

A petition will not be accepted by the council if:

  1. It duplicates another, concurrent petition. In this case, signatures will be added to the first such petition to be received by the council
  2. It repeats a petition received within the previous six months, whether or not the petition organiser is the same in each instance
  3. In the opinion of the Council’s Monitoring Officer, it is personal, rude, defamatory or vexatious in nature
  4. It becomes apparent that any local elector’s name, address or signature has been added to the petition without their explicit consent
  5. It does not relate to something over which the council has influence or control. 

What is the process when submitting a petition?

Petitions will normally be open for local electors to sign for six months or less, but may not remain open for more than 12 months. 

When a petition is received by the council, the type of petition will be clarified first. If a petition fits neither the description of a strategic or a non-strategic petition, it will be received by the relevant service area to be considered for progressing. If a petition is exempt for another reason, it may be returned to the petition organiser with an explanation of the reason for the classification.

When a strategic or non-strategic petition with 10 or more signatures is received, it will be addressed by council officers of the relevant service area. An officer may contact the organiser(s) of the petition to discuss the contents or progress of the petition.

When a strategic petition with 550 or more signatures is received, it will be considered at a meeting of one of the council’s committees. In most cases, it will be considered by an overview and scrutiny committee or sub-committee. The organiser(s) of the petition will be invited to address, or nominate another person to address, the relevant committee when a petition is considered for the first time. Following this first hearing, it is likely that the relevant committee will request an investigation into the issue which will return for further consideration when the investigation has concluded. If a committee agrees with the statement and request for change cited in a petition, it may seek to resolve the issue by making recommendations to relevant service areas or decision-making bodies within the Council or, where a petition relates to something over which the Council only has influence, by making recommendations to other organisations. 

The organiser(s) of a petition will receive a full explanation of what processes have taken place, how their petition has been considered and what the Council will do in response to their petition. Strategic petitions with 550 or more signatures and their outcomes will also be listed on the relevant section of the Council’s website.

In the period preceding an election or a referendum, the Council may need to treat any petitions received differently. Under such circumstances, the reasons for this will be explained to the organiser(s) of the petition.

Examples of Strategic Petitions

Whether a petition is considered strategic or non-strategic depends on whether the issue affects the whole of the East Riding. For example, if a petition is received in relation to speed restrictions on a road, it would be considered non-strategic because it would not affect the whole of the East Riding. If, instead, a petition was received which requested change to the policies and procedures governing the way in which the Council sets and reviews speed limits, it could be considered strategic. Similarly, if a petition was received about anti-social behaviour on a street, it would be considered non-strategic. If a petition was received about the way in which the Council addresses anti-social behaviour across the East Riding, it would be considered strategic. With this in mind, petition organisers are advised to conduct research into the topic of their intended petitions. The reason for this is that the action requested in a petition must be realistic and lawful.

Can I submit an e-petition to the council?

Yes. There are a number of free e-petition sites (such as ‘change.org’) that members of the public can access and use to submit a petition to the council.

The same rules apply as above when submitting an e-petition to the council.

Can I submit both a paper petition and an e-petition on the same subject?

Yes. If a paper petition is petitioning for exactly the same thing as the e-petition (and vice versa) then the they can both be submitted and the council will amalgamate the two.