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Petitions

Petitions Scheme for Teignbridge District Council

1. Petitions

Teignbridge Council welcomes petitions and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns or wishes. There are other ways you could also consider to influence the Council and these are set out on the Council's website Have Your Say.

Petitions are welcomed and all petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement from the Council within 10 working days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition. We will treat something as a petition if it is identified as being a petition, or if it seems to us that it is intended to be a petition.

You have choices in how you present your petition:

Paper petitions can be sent or delivered to:

The Democratic Services Manager
Legal & Democratic Services
Teignbridge District Council
Council Offices
Forde House
Newton Abbot
TQ12 4XX

or be emailed to comsec@teignbridge.gov.uk

or be presented to your local councillor

or petitions can also be presented to a meeting of the Council. If you would like to present your petition to the Council, or would like your local Councillor or someone else to present it on your behalf, please contact the Democratic Services Manager on 01626 215113 at least 10 working days before the meeting and they will talk you through the process.

If you wish to talk to someone about making a petition or any part of the process please contact the Democratic Services Manager on 01626 215113.

2. What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

Petitions submitted to the Council must include:

• a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish the Council to take;

• the name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition

• each page must contain the request being made of the Council and a statement visible to each signatory which reads,

"Using your personal information

In signing this petition I accept that this is a public document and this and the details I provide will also be open for public inspection at the Council Offices for a period of six weeks from the day the Council receives the petition."

Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition.

The contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed on the website. If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the petition organiser.

Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted. In the period immediately before an election or referendum we may need to deal with your petition differently - if this is the case we will explain the reasons and discuss the revised timescale which will apply. If a petition does not follow the guidelines set out above, the Council may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, we will write to you to explain the reasons.

There is no minimum number of names needed for a petition to the Council but the approach to the petition may change depending on the number of signatures. More names may ensure greater consideration of the issue(s) raised such as a public debate of your concerns. To ensure an equal opportunity for all people, living in Teignbridge, the Council has different numbers to make certain things happen if you live in a small village or a large town. If the petition deals with something which is of interest to the whole of the Council area these numbers change.

For example, as the first line of the table shows, Abbotskerswell has a population of 1,593 people. If a petition was received for improved play facilities and it contained up to 79 names it would be considered and a response would be given. If the petition contained between 80 and 158 names, it could request a Council officer to appear at a meeting of one of the Council's committees to discuss the possibility of improving the play facility. If the petition had 159 names, the question of play facilities at Abbotskerswell would be debated by all 46 Councillors at a public meeting of the Council. However, if someone living in Abbotskerswell petitioned the Council to require it to use electric vehicles, it would be a matter which would be of relevance to the whole District Council area. If it contained 20 names it would be considered and replied to but more names would be needed to require an officer to give evidence at Overview & Scrutiny Committee or have the issue debated at a Council meeting. Columns (3) and (4) of the table below show the numbers of signatures required for issues which concern the whole of the Council area.

The table below shows the differing numbers which are required depending on which part of the District you live or the issue raised. If the issues concern two or more parishes, the numbers would change. For instance, if it was an issue affecting Ashburton and Buckfastleigh, the numbers for these areas as shown in columns (1) or (2) for each area will be added together to work out the number of signatures required to require an officer to attend a meeting of a Council Committee or be debated by all 46 councillors. To have a local issue for these two parishes debated at Council a total of 820 signatures would be required. This figure is made up of 428 and 392 as shown in column (2) for each parish.

LOCAL ISSUE

ISSUE FOR WHOLE COUNCIL AREA

(1)

(2)

(3)

(4)

Officer to appear at O&S for local issue

Full Council debate of a local issue

Officer to appear at O&S for District -

wide issue

Full Council Debate of District -wide issue

Parish

Local Population (LP)

5% of Local Population

10% of Local Population

2.5% of Whole District

5% of Whole District

Abbotskerswell

1593

80

159

3234

6467

Ashburton

4277

214

428

3234

6467

Ashcombe

64

3

6

3234

6467

Ashton

204

10

20

3234

6467

Bickington

338

17

34

3234

6467

Bishopsteignton

2609

130

261

3234

6467

Bovey Tracey

7588

379

759

3234

6467

Bridford

521

26

52

3234

6467

Broadhempston

737

37

74

3234

6467

Buckfastleigh

3918

196

392

3234

6467

Buckland in the Moor

88

4

9

3234

6467

Christow

910

46

91

3234

6467

Chudleigh

4555

228

456

3234

6467

Coffinswell

237

12

24

3234

6467

Dawlish

13754

688

1375

3234

6467

Denbury & Torbryan

944

47

94

3234

6467

Doddiscombsleigh

278

14

28

3234

6467

Dunchideock

284

14

28

3234

6467

Dunsford

721

36

72

3234

6467

Exminster

3798

190

380

3234

6467

Haccombe with Combe

799

40

80

3234

6467

Hennock

1845

92

185

3234

6467

Holcombe Burnell

569

28

57

3234

6467

Ide

548

27

55

3234

6467

Ideford

395

20

40

3234

6467

Ilsington

2599

130

260

3234

6467

Ipplepen

2617

131

262

3234

6467

Kenn

1119

56

112

3234

6467

Kenton

1178

59

118

3234

6467

Kingskerswell

5108

255

511

3234

6467

Kingsteignton

11075

554

1108

3234

6467

Lustleigh

614

31

61

3234

6467

Mamhead

88

4

9

3234

6467

Manaton

322

16

32

3234

6467

Moretonhampstead

1812

91

181

3234

6467

Newton Abbot

25183

1259

2518

3234

6467

North Bovey

277

14

28

3234

6467

Ogwell

2293

115

229

3234

6467

Powderham

105

5

11

3234

6467

Shaldon

1770

89

177

3234

6467

Shillingford St George

355

18

36

3234

6467

Starcross

1855

93

186

3234

6467

Stokeinteignhead

758

38

76

3234

6467

Tedburn St Mary

1498

75

150

3234

6467

Teigngrace

243

12

24

3234

6467

Teignmouth

15301

765

1530

3234

6467

Trusham

181

9

18

3234

6467

Whitestone

745

37

75

3234

6467

Widecombe in the Moor

544

27

54

3234

6467

Woodland

136

7

14

3234

6467

3. What will the Council do when it receives my petition?

An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser for all petitions received within 10 working days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from us again. Details will be published on our website except in cases where this would be inappropriate. Whenever possible we will also publish all correspondence relating to the petition (all personal details will be removed).

Upon receipt a copy of the petition request will be advised, to the local councillor(s) for local issues and to the Leader for issues covering the whole district. While they may already be aware of the petition it gives the councillor(s) the opportunity of considering how they may wish to address the petition while the Council considers it. Details of the request will also be circulated to all councillors and the Chairman of the Council will report receipt of all petitions, for information, at a Council meeting.

If we can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgement may confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed. If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a Council debate, or require a senior officer to give evidence, then the acknowledgment will confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place. If the petition needs more investigation, we will tell you the steps we plan to take.

If the petition applies to a planning or licensing application, or is a statutory petition (for example requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor), or on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal, such as Council tax banding and non-domestic rates, other procedures apply. Similarly, if your petition is about the behaviour of a councillor or is likely to be. For further information on these procedures contact the Democratic Services Manager on 016262 215113 or email comsec@teignbridge.gov.uk

We will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate or is similar to a petition considered by the Council in the previous six months. Any petition alleging misconduct by a councillor or the competence of, or misconduct of an officer, will not be processed under the petitions scheme. Allegations of member misconduct will be referred to the Monitoring Officer. Any allegation over officer misconduct or competence will be referred to the Chief Executive for consideration under the Council's disciplinary procedures.

The Democratic Services Manager will decide the acceptability of petitions.

4. 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

• 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 for consideration by the Council's overview and scrutiny committee

• referring the petition for consideration by a portfolio-holder or Executive.

• calling a referendum

• writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition

In addition to these steps, the Council will consider all the specific actions it can potentially take on the issues highlighted in a petition. The table below gives some examples.

Petition Subject

Appropriate steps

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 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)

As the elected representatives in your area, as social landlord and licensing authority, the Council has a significant role to play in tackling anti-social behaviour. The Council, in conjunction with our partners in the local Community Safety Partnership have set out minimum service standards for responding to issues of anti-social behaviour, you can find more details about these standards here

Community Safety and Crime Prevention

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 as part of our role as social landlord and licensing authority. For example, we will work with the neighbourhood policing team in the area to identify what action might be taken, 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 Community Safety Partnership and the crime and disorder overview and scrutiny committee to the issues highlighted in the petition.

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.

The Council's decisions or action in response to petitions will be published on the Councils website.

5. Full Council debates

If a petition contains the required number of signatures as dealt with in section 2 above it will be debated by the full Council meeting unless it is a petition asking for a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting. This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all Councillors can attend. The Council will try to consider the petition at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will then take place at the following meeting. The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will then be discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes. The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting. They may decide to take the action the petition requests, not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate, or to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee. Where the issue is one on which the Council executive are required to make the final decision, the Council will decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision. The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision. This confirmation will also be published on our website.

6. Officer evidence

Your petition may ask for a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting of the Council's Overview & Scrutiny Committee about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job. The required number of signatures is shown in section 2 above. For example, your petition may ask a senior Council officer to explain progress on an issue, or to explain the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision.

The senior staff that can be called to give evidence are:

The Chief Executive as Head of Paid Service
Deputy Chief Executive
Strategic Managers

You should be aware that the overview and scrutiny 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 relevant Councillor to attend the meeting.

You may suggest questions for the chair of the committee to ask by contacting the Democratic Services Manager on 01626 215113 up to three working days before the meeting. There is also an opportunity for you to ask questions at council and committee meetings under a separate scheme. Please click on this link for more details Have Your Say.

Committee members will also ask questions at this meeting.

7. What can I do if I feel my petition has not been dealt with properly?

If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the Council's overview and scrutiny committee review the steps that the Council has taken in response to your petition. Contact the Democratic Services Manager on 01626 215113. It is helpful to everyone, and can improve the prospects for a review if the petition organiser gives a short explanation of the reasons why the Council's response is not considered to be adequate. The committee will endeavour to consider your request at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will take place at the following meeting. Should the committee determine we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter. These powers include instigating an investigation, making recommendations to the Council's executive or arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full Council.

Once the appeal has been considered the petition organiser will be informed of the results within 5 working days. The results of the review will be published on our website.

If your petition has been refused by the Council as being vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate, an independent group of people, the Council's Standards Committee Members, will review the decision.

Public Access Statement

If you need this document in another language, print size or colour, Braille, BSL, as an e-mail attachment, MP3 File or disk, please telephone 01626 215818 or e-mail info@teignbridge.gov.uk

  • Petitions Received

    In this section you will be able to see what Petitions the Council has received and at what stage of the Petition process it is at. You will also be able to see what the outcomes were of each petition.

    More …