East Devon District Council

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Guide Petitions

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12. Petitions asking for officers to give evidence

If your petition contains more than 750 signatures your petition may ask for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job. 

Your petition may ask the officer to explain progress on a particular issue or to explain the advice given to the Leader and/or councillors to enable them to make a particular decision.  The petition must relate to the officer’s job and cannot relate to their personal circumstances or character.

The evidence will be given at a public meeting of the council’s Overview and  Scrutiny Committee and not at a meeting of the Council.  The officer giving evidence at the meeting may be accompanied by another officer, technical expert or a representative from a partner agency.  You will be given details of the meeting so that you can attend.  The Committee meetings are normally held in public, but the Committee has the option to exclude the press and public from any part of the meeting that discusses confidential information.  If the Committee does exclude the press and public you will also have to leave the meeting.  If possible you will be given the opportunity to present your petition first.  If it is likely that the press and public will be excluded from the whole or any part of the meeting you will be notified of this and given the reason(s) for this when we give you the details of the meeting.  You should be aware that the committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition – for instance if the named officer has changed jobs.  The committee may also decide to call the Leader or relevant councillor to attend the meeting.  Only the Committee will ask questions at this meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions you would like them to ask by contacting the Democratic Services Manager (by telephone 01395 517541 or Team number 01395 516546 or e-mailing dvernon@eastdevon.gov.uk) by 4.00 pm three working days before the meeting.