North East Lincolnshire Council

Petition scheme

Details of how the Council will respond to petitions which you send to us

North East Lincolnshire Council welcomes petitions as one way in which you can let us know your concerns. We set out below how the Council will respond to petitions which you send us.

We treat a petition as any communication which is signed by or sent to us on behalf of a number of people. For practical purposes, we set a requirement for at least 20 signatories or petitioners before we treat it as a petition. This applies whether you live, work or study in North East Lincolnshire or if you are visitor.

A petition should include:

  • A clear statement of your concerns and what you want the Council to do. This must relate to something which is the responsibility of the Council, or over which the Council has some influence. Where a petition relates to a matter which is within the responsibility of another council or public body, we will ask the petition organiser whether s/he would like us to redirect the petition to that other council or public body. Where a petition relates to a matter over which the Council has no responsibility or influence, we will reject the petition and return the petition to the petition organiser with an explanation of that decision
  • The name and contact details of the “petition-organiser” or someone to whom you would like any correspondence about the petition to be sent. Contact details may be either a postal address or an email address. Where an email address is given the Council reserves the right to call for a postal address as its discretion;
  • The names of at least 20 petitioners (which can include the petition organiser). Where the petition is in paper form, this can include an actual signature from each petitioner, but actual signature is not essential. Where the petition is in electronic form, a list of the names of the petitioners will suffice. You may include the addresses of petitioners, which may be useful to the Council, for example, in assessing the degree of local support or opposition to a planning application, but this is not essential. If you want your petition to be debated at a meeting of the Council (“A petition for debate”), or to trigger a public meeting of an overview and scrutiny committee at which a specific officer will be required to report , your petition will need to contain a higher number of signatories or petitioners (see below);
  • If you are submitting the petition in response to our consultation on a specific matter, please identify the matter which it relates to, so that we can ensure that your petition is considered along with the original matter.

Where you submit a petition in response to consultation by the Council, please address it to the return address set out in the consultation invitation. This will ensure that it is reported at the same time as the matter to which it relates is considered.

Alternatively, you can e-mail your petition to democracy@nelincs.gov.uk.

We will ensure that your petition is acknowledged within five working days of receipt. Details of the petition will also be published on the Council website in order to provide key information about the progress of the petition.

  • Ordinary petitions

These are petitions which do not come within any of the following specific types. Please note that petitions which raise issues of possible Councillor misconduct will be taken as complaints arising under North East Lincolnshire Council’s arrangements for dealing with standards allegations under the localism act 2011, rather than considered under this petition scheme.

  • Consultation petitions

These are petitions in response to an invitation from the Council for representations on a particular proposal or application, for example on planning or licensing applications or proposals for parking restrictions or speed limits. Consultation petitions which are received by the response date in the consultation invitation will be reported to a public meeting of the person or body which will be taking the decision on the application or proposal.

  • Statutory petitions

Particular acts of parliament require the Council to consider petitions, for example a petition for a review of parish councils, or a petition for a directly-elected Mayor. Where you submit a petition under such a specific statute, we will report it to the next available meeting of the Council, Cabinet or relevant committee in accordance with the statutory requirements.

  • Petitions for debate

If you want your petition to be reported to and debated at a meeting of the Council, it must contain at least 1,000 signatories or petitioners (this is reduced to 400 signatories or petitioners where the petition relates to a local issue, affecting no more than two electoral wards within the Council’s area).

When a petition is received, within five working days the petitions officer will open a new public file within the website and will put in that file the subject matter of the petition, its date of receipt and the number of signatories or petitioners. The petition organiser’s name and contact details will only be included on the website if s/he so requests.

As soon as it is decided who the petition will be considered by within the Council, and when that consideration will occur, this information will be entered on the website at the same time as it is sent to the petition organiser. Once the petition has been considered, the Council’s decision will be notified to the petition organiser and put on the website within five working days.

Petitions are presented on the petitions website in the order in which they are received. All petitions are kept on the website for two years from the date of receipt.

When a petition is received which relates to a local matter (particularly affecting a specific ward or wards), a copy of the petition will be sent to each relevant ward Councillor at the same time as acknowledging receipt of the petition to the petition organiser.

When the petition is reported to the person or body within the Council who can take a decision on the matter to which it relates, the relevant ward Councillor will be invited to attend and to address the decision-taker for no more than three minutes (or three minutes each), immediately after the petition organiser.

Whenever a petition is received:

Within five working days of receipt, the Council will acknowledge receipt to the petition organiser.

In some cases, it may be possible to resolve the petitioners’ request directly, by getting the relevant cabinet member or officer to take appropriate action. Where this is done, the petition organiser will be asked whether s/he considers that the matter is resolved.

Unless the matter has been resolved to the satisfaction of the petition organiser, within five working days of receipt of the petition, a substantive response will be sent to the petition organiser setting out who the petition will be reported to for consideration, when and where that will take place and inviting the petition organiser to attend that meeting and to address the meeting for up to five minutes on the issue covered by the petition. The invitation to the petition organiser to address the meeting is in addition to any other public speaking rights at that meeting.

Whilst the Council is committed to dealing with petitions promptly, a petition will normally need to be received at least 10 working days before a relevant meeting if it is to be reported to that meeting. Where it is necessary to undertake a significant amount of work to collect information and advice to enable the matter to be properly considered, it may be necessary to hold the petition over until the following meeting of the relevant body.

At each stage of the consideration of the petition, within five working days of any decision, the key petition information will be updated on the Council’s website to ensure that petitioners can track progress of their petition.

What happens next depends on the type of petition being considered, as explained below.

Consultations petitions are submitted in response to an invitation from the Council to submit representations on a particular proposal or application, such as a planning or licensing application or a proposed traffic regulation order.

The petition will be reported to the person or body who will take the decision on the proposal or application at the meeting.

The Council’s constitution defines who will take different types of decision, as set out in the scheme of delegations and the terms of reference of committees and sub-committees. However, all planning applications are determined by the planning committee (with one exception), all licensing applications are determined by the licensing committee, and traffic regulation orders are determined by the cabinet member (or portfolio holder) with responsibility for environmental matters. The one exception in respect of planning applications is that the Council’s executive director regeneration and/ or the statutory planning officer has delegated power to determine domestic planning applications where no objection has been received. So, where a petition has been received amounting to a material objection to the grant of planning permission, the application would be reported to the planning committee for decision. Where the petition supports the planning application and there are no other objections received, it may be determined by the statutory planning officer

Where the petition relates to a matter which is within the delegated power of a council officer, s/he will not exercise those delegated powers. The petition will be referred to the relevant cabinet member, for decision.

Where the petition relates to a matter which is within the delegated powers of an individual cabinet member, s/he may decide not to exercise those delegated powers but to refer the matter to cabinet for decision.

Particular acts of parliament require the Council to consider petitions, for example a petition for a review of parish councils, or a petition for a directly-elected Mayor. Where you submit a petition under such a specific statute, it will be reported it to the next available meeting of the Council, cabinet or relevant committee in accordance with the statutory requirements.

Petitions for debate will be reported to the next convenient meeting of council. Petitions will not be considered at the annual meeting of council, the annual Mayor making ceremony or at extraordinary (or special) meetings of council which are not convened to consider the subject matter of the petition.

The petition organiser will be invited to address the meeting for up to five minutes on the subject of the petition.

Each ordinary petition will be reported to the next convenient meeting of the relevant cabinet member, for a decision.

At the meeting, when the matter to which the petition relates is considered:

Petitions which do not relate to an ordinary item of business will be considered before the normal business of the meeting, and will be considered in the order in which they were received, unless the Chair at the meeting determines otherwise. A maximum of 30 minutes will be allowed at each meeting for considering such petitions and any petitions not reached in the time allowed will be referred to the relevant cabinet member for consideration or deferred until the next meeting.

Any petitions relevant to particular items of business, such as petitions relating to planning applications or proposed traffic regulation orders, will be taken together with that item of business, in the normal order of business.

The decision-taker or the Chairman of the meeting may invite a relevant officer to set out the background to the issue before inviting the petition organiser to address him/her for up to five minutes. The cabinet member/Chair may then ask questions of the petition organiser, and will then invite any relevant ward Councillors present to address him/her on the matter for up to three minutes (each). The cabinet member/Chair will then invite a relevant officer(s) to advise him/her/the meeting, after which the matter will be open for debate among members of the decision-making body. Before reaching a final decision, the relevant cabinet member may require further investigations to be carried out and the results of such investigations included in the report to the relevant cabinet member / body prior to a final decision being taken on the subject matter of the petition.

Within five working days of the consideration of the petition by the relevant cabinet member / decision making body, the petition organiser will be notified of the cabinet member’s decision and advise him/her that if s/he is not satisfied with that decision, s/he may require the matter to be reported to the next convenient meeting of the appropriate scrutiny committee (or panel) for review.

If the petition organiser is not reasonably satisfied with the outcome of the Council’s consideration of his/her petition, he/she may appeal to scrutiny by notifying the monitoring officer of his/her intention to appeal within 20 working days of being notified of the Council’s decision on the petition. This right of appeal applies to ordinary petitions only.

Within five working days of receipt of intention to appeal, the petition organiser will be notified of the time, date and place of the next convenient meeting of the scrutiny committee (or panel) and will invite the petition organiser to attend the meeting and to address the panel for up to five minutes on why s/he considers that the decision on the petition is inadequate.

Scrutiny may not over-ride the decision of any cabinet member, but the cabinet member must consider any recommendations made by scrutiny.

Where the petition is not accepted for consideration (see below for grounds for rejection of petitions), the petition organiser will be advised of the rejection and the grounds for such rejection.

Where the petition is accepted for consideration, the petition organiser will be advised within five working days of receipt by the Council as to who the petition will be considered by, and the date, time and place of the meeting at which it will be considered, and will be invited to address the meeting for up to five minutes. The meeting may then ask the petition organiser questions on the subject matter of the petition.

The petition organiser may nominate another person to address the meeting and to answer any questions on the matter.

The petition organiser will be regularly informed of any decisions in respect of the petition and will be formally notified of the outcome of the petition’s consideration within five working days of such decision.

  • Duplicate petitions

Where more than one petition is received in time for a particular meeting, each supporting the same outcome on one matter, each petition organiser will be treated as an independent petition organiser, but only the petition organiser of the first petition to be received will be invited to address the relevant meeting.

  • Repeat petitions

A petition will not normally be considered where a petition on the same issue and seeking the same outcome has been received within the last six months, whether or not from the same petition organiser.

  • Rejected petitions

Petitions will not be reported if in the opinion of the Council’s monitoring officer, they are rude, offensive, defamatory, scurrilous or time-wasting,  reasonably perceived (at the sole discretion of the Monitoring Officer) to attempt to usurp or undermine the decision making process or any provision of the Constitution or do not relate to something which is within the responsibility of the Council, or over which the Council has some influence.

Find out how to petition the Council and information on existing petitions.

Democratic services, Municipal Offices, Town Hall Square, Grimsby, North East Lincolnshire, DN31 1HU

Email: democracy@nelincs.gov.uk

Telephone: 01472 324124

Opening times: Monday to Friday 9 am to 5 pm except bank holidays