Rules for Submitting a Petition

Rules for submitting a petition

A petition is a written or spoken request to do something. It is usually addressed to a government official or public body.

You can start a petition by completing the Online Petition Form

When a petition has closed online, send your petition directly to the council department or service.

We may deal with your petition in a different way if it is before an election, but we will let you know and explain the reasons.

If your petition does not follow the rules we may decide not to do anything further with it, but we will write to you to explain our reasons.

What your petition should include

When you write your petition, you must include:

  • the petition organiser’s name, address and telephone number
  • the name, address and signature of at least 10 people on the Thurrock electoral register who support your petition
  • what you want us to do

Your petition must be about one of the following:

  • something that we do
  • something that affects us
  • something that affects the borough

What isn't allowed

Petitions must not:

  • be offensive or simply an attempt to waste our time
  • be the same as a petition we have already dealt with in the last 12 months
  • name or identify a council employee
  • involve the disclosure of confidential or exempt information

Other online petition websites

You can use online petition websites, such as change.org, and other digital methods to create petitions. We have a duty to protect against fraudulent activity, however, so any online petition from a website other than our own must be accompanied by 10 or more handwritten signatures of Thurrock residents alongside their names and addresses.


How to present your petition.

How to present your petition

You can present your petition at:

  • a council meeting
  • a cabinet meeting
  • any committee meeting

Find out the dates of our meetings.

If you want to present a petition at one of our meetings, you must tell us no later than midday the day before the meeting

What you need to tell us about your petition

You must tell us:

  • what your petition is about
  • the number of signatures your petition has
  • your contact details

If you want to present your petition at a meeting or give it to us in person, you should contact:

Democratic Services

direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

At the meeting

You can speak for up to 2 minutes at the meeting to tell councillors what your petition is about.

We will not discuss your petition at the meeting, unless there is a report on the agenda that covers the issue in your petition.

We will tell you about what will happen at the meeting when you contact us about presenting your petition.


Online Petitions

Online petitions

Use our website to start a petition online. You will find instructions about how to do this on the site.

Start a petition online

Creating an online petition

To create a petition online, you will need to:

  • give your name, postal address and email address
  • decide how long your petition will be open for people to sign

A petition can remain open for up to 12 months

Publishing your petition

When you create a petition we will check it is suitable before we publish it online. This could take up to 5 working days.

If we cannot publish your petition, we will contact you to explain why. This could take up to 5 working days. You will be able to change and resubmit your petition if you wish.

When your petition closes, we will contact you within 10 working days.

Presenting your petition at one of our meetings

Contact us if you would like to present your petition at one of our meetings. We will talk you through how to do this.

Democratic Services

direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

How to 'sign' an online petition

You can see all the online petitions on our consultations website.

When you sign an online petition, we will ask you to provide:

  • your name
  • your postcode
  • an email address

We will send an message to the email address you provided. This will include a link you can click on to confirm your email address.

Your 'signature' will then be added to the petition.

How we will deal with your petition?

How we will deal with your petition

When we get your petition

Within 10 working days of receiving your petition, we will contact you in writing or by email you to tell you:

  • what we plan to do with the petition
  • when you can expect to hear from us again

What we will do about your petition

Depending on what your petition asks for and how many people signed it, our response could be:

  • acting on the requests in the petition
  • considering the petition at a council meeting
  • holding an inquiry into the matter
  • undertaking research into the matter
  • holding a public meeting
  • holding a consultation
  • holding a meeting with petitioners
  • referring the petition to an overview and scrutiny committee
  • calling a referendum
  • writing to the petition organiser with our views

If your petition has enough signatures to trigger a Council debate, or a senior officer giving evidence, we will:

  • confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place
  • tell you if we believe your petition needs further investigation and if so what we plan to do

We will always tell you the actions we have taken

Petitions we can't deal with.

Petitions we can't deal with

Where a process is already in place for you to voice your opinion, the existing process will be followed. This includes:

  • any matter about a person or organisation where there is already a review or right of appeal, such as council tax banding and business rates
  • a statutory petition, for example asking for a referendum on having an elected mayor
  • petitions from our employees, which the council's grievance procedure or other human resources policies can deal with
  • any petitions about the day-to-day running of a school, which the school’s governing body can deal with
  • any petitions about things outside our control, such as matters governed by national or European legislation and contractual matters
  • any petitions about a matter covered by legal proceedings

Petitions about failures to deliver services

If your petition is about failures to deliver the services listed above, we will consider it. Contact us for advice, before starting your petition.

Democratic Services

direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk

Duplicate petitions

If your petition is similar to another petition, we will not consider it within 12 months. Please check details of previous petitions, before starting your petition.

Petitions about planning, licensing or consultation response.

Petitions about planning, licensing or consultation response

Processes are already in place for people to voice their opinions about planning, licensing and responses to consultation.

Petitions about planning

If your petition is about planning, send it to:

Assistant Director of Planning and GrowthThurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, Essex, RM17 6SL

This includes matters concerning:

  • a planning application
  • a planning enforcement
  • a development plan document
  • a community infrastructure charge

Petitions about licensing

If your petition is about licensing, send it to:

Assistant Director of EnvironmentThurrock Council, Civic Offices, New Road, Grays, RM17 6SL

This includes matters concerning:

  • alcohol licensing
  • gambling licensing
  • sex establishment licensing

Petitions in response to council consultations

If your petition is about something we are currently consulting about, you should contact the council department responsible for the consultation directly.

Full Council debates.

Full council debates

If your petition has more than 1,500 signatures, we will check to see if it qualifies for a full council debate.

We will try to consider your petition at our next meeting. If this isn't possible, we'll consider it at the following meeting

At the meeting

We will give you 5 minutes to present your petition. Councillors will then have up to 15 minutes to discuss it. They will decide how to respond to your petition. This could include:

  • to take the action requested in your petition
  • not to take the action requested in your petition
  • to investigate your petition further

Making a decision about your petition

If the council executive needs to make the final decision about your petition, we will write to you to confirm the decision. We will also publish our decision on our website.

Petitioning senior officers to give evidence

Petitioning senior officers to give evidence

If your petition has at least 750 signatures, you can ask for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something they are responsible for. You can ask us to explain:

  • the progress we have made
  • the advice we gave to councillors

Deciding which officer gives evidence

You can request which officer you would like to give evidence.

Article 12 of our constitution lists senior staff that can be called to give evidence.

We may decide that it is more appropriate for another officer to give evidence. For example, if the officer named in your petition has changed jobs. The committee may also decide to call the relevant cabinet member to attend the meeting.

At the meeting

Our overview and scrutiny committee members will ask the questions at the meeting. You can suggest questions to the committee's chair, by contacting us up to 3 working days before the meeting.

Democratic Services

direct.democracy@thurrock.gov.uk