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.