9. How will the Council respond to petitions?
Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it, but may include one or more of the following:
- Taking the action requested in the petition.
- Considering the petition at a Council meeting (where the subject of the petition does not fall within the remit of an appropriate body or person).
- Holding an inquiry into the matter.
- Undertaking research into the matter.
- Holding a public meeting.
- Holding a consultation.
- Holding a meeting with the petitioners.
- Referring the petition for consideration by the Council’s Scrutiny Committee*.
- Calling a referendum.
- Writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition.
*The Scrutiny Committee is responsible for scrutinising the work of the Council – in other words, the Councillors on this committee have the power to hold the Council’s decision-makers to account.
In addition to these steps, the Council will consider all the specific actions it can potentially take on the issues highlighted in a petition.
Some examples are:
Alcohol related crime and disorder
If your petition is about crime or disorder linked to alcohol consumption, the Council will, among other measures, consider the case for placing restrictions on public drinking in the area by establishing a designated public place order or, as a last resort, imposing an alcohol disorder zone. When an alcohol disorder zone is established the licensed premises in the area where alcohol related trouble is being caused are required to contribute to the costs of the extra policing in that area. The
Council’s response to your petition will set out the steps we intend to take and the reasons for taking this approach.
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)
The Council plays a significant role in tackling anti-social behaviour (ASB) as the elected representatives of your local area as a social landlord and as licensing authority.
When responding to petitions on ASB, we will consider, in consultation with our local partners, all the options available to us including the wide range of powers and mechanisms we have to intervene. For example, we will work with the neighbourhood policing team in the affected area to identify what action might be taken including what role CCTV might play, consider identifying a dedicated contact within the Council to liaise with the community and neighbourhood partners on issues of ASB in the area in question and, where appropriate, we will alert the crime and disorder reduction partnership and the Overview and Scrutiny Committee to the issues highlighted in the petition.
No direct control
If your petition is about something over which the council has no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) we will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body. The council works with a large number of local partners and where possible will work with these partners to respond to your petition. If we are not able to do this for any reason (for example if what the petition calls for conflicts with council policy), then we will set out the reasons for this to you.
If your petition is about something that a different council is responsible for we will give consideration to what the best method is for responding to it. This might consist of simply forwarding the petition to the other council, but could involve other steps. In any event we will always notify you of the action we have taken.