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Fareham Borough Council

Scheme for Handling Petitions

Petitions

The council welcomes petitions and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. All petitions submitted to the council will receive an acknowledgement within 10 working days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition.

Paper petitions can be sent to the petitions administrator at :
Democratic Services
Civic Offices
Fareham
PO16 7AZ

Electronic petitions can be created and submitted by accessing an e-petition form.

Please note that petitions will not be accepted in any other form.

All information submitted in a petition may be shared with a 3rd party.

What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

To be a valid petition and one which triggers a formal response by the Council as described in this scheme, a petition must:

If a petition does not follow the guidelines set out above, the council may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, we will write to you to explain the reasons.

Petitions with less than 50 signatures may still be submitted to the Council but may not be dealt in accordance with this scheme. We will write to you to explain the action to be taken.

In the period immediately before an election or referendum we may need to deal with your petition differently – if this is the case we will explain the reasons and discuss the revised timescale which will apply.

Restrictions on what will be accepted as a petition

The information in a petition must be submitted in good faith and comply with the law. We will usually not accept a petition which contains:

Setting up an e-petition

Electronic petitions can be created and submitted by accessing the e-petition form.

Once completed the form will be automatically submitted to the council's petitions administrator, who will check that it is a valid request and complies with this scheme. The administrator may contact you to resolve any queries, but once the petition has been accepted as valid, it will be published as a live petition for others to add their support.

What will the council do when it receives my petition?

An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within 10 working days of receiving a paper petition or of closure of a live e-petition. The acknowledgment will let them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from us again.

If we can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgment may confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed.

If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a council debate, or a senior officer giving evidence, then the acknowledgment will confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place.

If the petition needs more investigation, we will tell you the steps we plan to take.

If the petition applies to a planning or licensing application, is a statutory petition (for example requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor), or is on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal, such as council tax banding and non-domestic rates, other procedures apply. Further information on these procedures will be provided to you.

We will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate. We will explain the reasons for this in our acknowledgement of the petition.

How will the council respond to petitions?

Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for, but may include one or more of the following:

If your petition is about something that a different council is responsible for (for example highways matters, which are the responsibility of Hampshire County Council) we will generally forward the petition to the other council so that it might be considered in accordance with their petition scheme. We will notify you of the action we have taken.

If your petition is about something over which the council has no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) we may consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body.

Full council debates

If a petition contains more than 1,500 valid signatures it will be debated by the full Council unless it is a petition asking for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting. This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all councillors can attend. The Council will endeavour to consider the petition at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will then take place at the following meeting.

The petition organiser will be given up to ten minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by councillors. The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to take the action the petition requests, not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee. Where the issue is one on which the council Executive is required to make the final decision, the Council will decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision. The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision.

Officer evidence

Your petition may ask for a senior council officer to give evidence to a committee about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job. For example, your petition may ask a senior council officer to explain progress on an issue, or to explain the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision. If your petition contains at least 750 signatures, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a meeting of an overview and scrutiny committee. A list of the senior staff who can be called to give evidence can be found in the schedule at the end of this scheme. You should be aware that the overview and scrutiny committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition. The committee may also decide to call a relevant councillor to attend the meeting. Committee members will ask the questions at this meeting, which will generally be held in public.

What can I do if I feel my petition has not been dealt with properly?

If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the council's Scrutiny Board review the steps that the council has taken in response to your petition. It is helpful to everyone, and can improve the prospects for a review, if the petition organiser gives a short explanation of the reasons why the council's response is not considered to be adequate.

The Board will endeavour to consider your request at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will take place at the following meeting. Should the Scrutiny Board determine we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter. These powers include instigating an investigation, making recommendations to the council Executive and arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full Council. Once the appeal has been considered the petition organiser will be informed of the results within 5 working days.

_____________________
SCHEDULE
(Officer Evidence refers)
Senior officers of the council
Chief Executive Officer
Director of Community
Director of Finance and Resources
Director of Planning and Environment
Director of Regulatory and Democratic Services
Director of Streetscene



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Fareham Borough Council, Civic Offices, Civic Way, Hampshire, PO16 7AZ
Tel: +44 (0) 1329 236100 | Mobile Text/Photo: 07876 131415 | Fax: +44 (0) 1329 821770
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