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 is eligible
Any member of the public who is a registered local government elector or resident of North Hertfordshire or owns a business in the area 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.
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 or can be scanned and emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org
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 supporting the petition;
- the name, address and contact details of the petition organiser.
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.
The Council 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.
Petition for an elected mayor
Citizens have the right to petition for a directly elected Mayor. If the council receives a valid petition signed by at least 5% of the local government electors in its area, it must hold a referendum. If the referendum results in a majority vote in favour of establishing an elected Mayor, the council has to introduce such arrangements.
The current form of governance within the council is a Leader, elected by the Council, who is supported by a number of Councillors, known as the Cabinet.
The petition organiser is responsible for collecting the required number of signatures and submitting the petition to the council. Once the petition has been submitted the petition organiser will be the person with whom the council will correspond.
To be valid, a submitted petition must:
- be signed by at least 5% of people registered to vote at a local government election in North Hertfordshire (this is called the 'verification number'); and
- follow the regulations on how the petition should be formatted and how signatories should be recorded as required in the Local Authorities (Referendum) (Petitions) (England) Regulations 2011.
The formal notice of the verification number is calculated using the Electoral Register and is available to view below.
After we receive 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
This 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.
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.
Speak at a meeting about the petition
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.
Please note: no more than two petitions may be presented per meeting, and petitions on the same subject may be amalgamated.
For further information, please contact Committee, Member and Scrutiny Services on 01462 474655.