Petitions

Any resident of North Hertfordshire or registered local government elector may present a petition to the Council (at a meeting of full Council, Cabinet or an Area Committee) on a matter with which the Council is concerned.

Who can submit a petition?

Any member of the public who is a registered local government elector or resident of North Hertfordshire or owns a business in the area (‘an *applicable person”) may present, to a meeting of full Council, Cabinet or an Area Committee, a petition relating to a matter with which the Council is concerned.

What are the requirements for submitting a petition?

A petition must be written and submitted on paper to: The Democratic Services Manager, Council Offices, Gernon Road, Letchworth, SG6 3JF. If presentation to a specific meeting is intended, notification must be given in writing at least 5 working days before the relevant meeting of the full Council, Cabinet or Area Committee.

A petition must include:

  • a clear, concise statement, repeated on each page, covering the subject of the petition and what action you want the Council to take;
  • the name, address, post code (business if applicable) and signature of at least 120 applicable persons (as defined above*) supporting the petition;
  • the name, address and contact details of the petition organiser (who should be an applicable person).

If the above information is not evident when the petition is submitted, the Proper Officer may reject the petition outright, or seek further information before deciding whether to do so.

e-Petitions

We will accept electronic petitions provided they comply with the requirements above and are created on recognised online petition websites which require a form of verification by the person signing the petition. Such petitions must be printed and submitted to The Democratic Services Manager.

What will the Council do when it receives a petition?

The Democratic Services Manager will acknowledge receipt and decide what to do with the petition. If a petition does not follow the requirements set out above, or is considered not to be relevant, the Democratic Services Manager may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, he/she will write to the petition organiser to explain the reasons.

Action, on receipt of a petition, may include:

  •  Undertaking research or an investigation into the issue;
  •  Meeting or discussing the issue wit the petition organiser;
  •  Consulting local Partners or stakeholders;
  •  considering the petition at a full Council/Cabinet/Committee/ Sub-Committee/ Area Committee meeting;
  •  referring to officers for consideration and report to a Full Council/Cabinet/Committee / Sub-Committee/ Area Committee meeting;
  •  referring the petition to another agency;
  •  writing to the petition organiser setting out the Council views about the request in the petition.

Why may a petition not be acceptable?

  • If the petition applies to a matter where there is an existing right of appeal or other procedures apply (e.g. an individual planning application), we will advise the petition organiser of the procedure to be followed.
  • In general, other, existing, procedures apply to:
    •  Any matter relating to a planning decision, including about a development plan document or the community infrastructure levy;
    •  Any matter relating to an alcohol, gambling or sex establishment licensing decision;
    •  Any matter relating to an individual or entity in respect of which that individual or entity has a right of recourse to a review or right of appeal conferred by or under any enactment;
    •  any petition considered to be vexatious, abusive, libellous, offensive, in breach of the Council’s statutory duties in respect of equality, diversity and inclusion or otherwise inappropriate.
  • Petitions disclosing matters that are personal, or confidential.
  • Petitions which are a duplicate of, or very similar to, a petition submitted in the past 12 months
  • Petitions that do not otherwise follow the requirements of the Petitions Scheme.

If a Committee is to consider the petition, am I able to speak at the meeting?

The petition organiser or his/her representative may address the Council, Cabinet or area committee meeting, for no more than five minutes on the subject of the petition, but shall not have the right to speak further.

No more than two petitions may be presented per meeting, and petitions on the same subject may be amalgamated.

For further information, please contact David Miley, Democratic Services Manager on 01462 474208.