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Frequently asked questions

Allows the creation and signing of on-line petitions.

  • What is an e-petition?

    An e-petition is very similar to a paper based petition but it is created and signed on-line. Because it is on-line it is always available for new signatories. Each petition has its own web page where details about the petition are displayed, the current progress of the petition is reported, and from where the viewer of the page can sign the petition. When the petition has been considered by the Council, signatories of an e-petition receive an email to inform them of the Council's response.

  • What steps are involved in creating a petition?

    There are three main steps involved in creating a petition.

    Firstly, you need to create a draft petition, by completing a simple form. At this stage you can modify the content of the petition as often as you wish.

    Secondly, you need to submit the draft petition for approval. No further modification, other than the duration of the petition, will then be allowed.

    Thirdly, once the e-petitions administrator has approved your petition, you will receive an email and you will be able to open the petition to signatories.

  • Why might a petition be rejected?

    A petition might be rejected for a number of reasons. In the simplest case, your petition might not actually request an action, or might request an action that is outside of the remit of the council. You might have provided incorrect or inadequate contact details, used language that was inappropriate, potentially libellous or possibly defamatory. If a petition is considered to be a commercial promotion because, for example, it contains links to a web site, it would also be rejected.

    A petition would also be rejected because it duplicates an existing petition and this is easily overcome by first reviewing the currently open and recently closed petitions and by examining petitions with similar keywords to the one that is to be created.

  • What happens if my petition is rejected?

    In the event that your petition is rejected you will be given the reasons for that rejection. You may, at the Council's discretion, be allowed to create a new version of the petition that addresses the reasons for the rejection. This new version must then be submitted for approval in the same manner as the previous version.

  • When will a petition be considered as closed?

    When a petition is created, you specify how long it should be open to signatories. You can specify this as a particular date (1 Jan 2011) or as a duration (6 months). The petition will be closed automatically at the end of this period. At any time whist a petition is open to signatories you can close it. This stops the petition receiving any more signatures but starts the process of consideration by the Council.

  • Can I use the same email address for different signatures?

    Unfortunately not. Each signatory of the petition must have their own email address.

    The same email address can be used if you are signing more than one petition. In such a case, you will not have to enter your contact details again, through you may alter them if you wish.

  • Can I remove my signature from a petition?

    If you have signed a petition but after consideration, decide you wish to withdraw that signature, you may do so provided the petition is still open to signatories. Use the Manage Petition and Signings option. You must first provide the email address you used to sign the petition. An email will be sent containing a hyperlink which will take you to a list of the petitions that you have created or signed. From the relevant petition page use the Withdraw button that appears at the bottom of the page.

  • How will a petition be handled by the Council?

    How the Council treats a petition will depend on the number of signatories that the petition attracts. A threshold of 100 signatories is the minimum amount before the petitioner can present the petition to Council. A threshold of 750 signatories will require senior members of staff to give evidence at a meeting of a scrutiny committee. A threshold of 1,500 signatories will trigger a full Council debate.

  • Will I be kept informed about the progress of the petition?

    When the Council responds to a petition, the response is emailed to the proposer, seconders, and all the signatories, in addition to appearing on the petition's webpage.

  • What can I do if I am unhappy with the Council's response?

    If you are unhappy about the way that the authority has dealt with your petition then you may appeal and ask for a review by a scrutiny committee. The proposer, seconders, and all the signatories, will receive an email detailing the outcome of the review, in addition to it appearing on the petition's webpage.

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