Petitions

Frequently Asked Questions for this Service

Question: Who can initiate a petition?

Answer: A petition can be initiated by a person of any age who lives, works or studies on the Isle of Wight. When sending in a petition it is important that the organiser‘s name, address and contact details are clearly given.

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Question: Who can sign a petition?

Answer: A petition can be signed by any person of any age who lives, works or studies on the Isle of Wight. Anyone signing a petition must provide their name and address. If you do not live on the Island, you should state whether you work or study on the Island.

You can only sign a petition once. The list of signatories will be checked by officers and any duplicate signatures or obviously frivolous responses will be removed.

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Question: What information should my petition contain?

Answer: Your petition should include:

• a title (topic)
• a statement explicitly setting out what action you would like the Council to take
• any information which you feel is relevant to the petition and reasons why you consider the action requested to be necessary
• a date for when your petition will stop collecting signatures. In order to achieve the maximum impact, you may want to set this date so that the petition will be submitted before a date on which a debate is to be held or a decision taken on the issue.

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Question: What can petitions achieve?

Answer: When you submit a petition to the Council it can have positive outcomes that lead to change and inform debate. It can bring an issue to the attention of the Council and show strong public approval or disapproval for something which the Council is doing.

As a consequence the Council may decide to, for example, change or review a policy, hold a public meeting or run a public consultation to gather more views on the issue.

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Question: What issues can a petition relate to?

Answer: A petition should be relevant to some issue on which the council has powers or duties or on which it has shared delivery responsibilities. It should also be submitted in good faith and be decent, honest and respectful.

You may wish to have a look at the council’s Forward Plan (http://www.iwight.com/Council/how-it-works/Delegated-Decisons/Forward-Plan) which lists all of the key decisions to be taken by the council in the coming months to see if the petition you have in mind relates to any of these issues.

Your petition should not:

• contain intemperate, inflammatory, abusive or provocative language
• be defamatory, frivolous, vexatious, discriminatory or otherwise offensive
• contain false statements
• be too similar to another petition submitted within the past six months
• disclose confidential or exempt information, including information protected by a court order or government department
• disclose material which is otherwise commercially sensitive
• name individuals, or provides information where they may be easily identified, eg individual officers of public bodies, or makes criminal accusations
• contain advertising statements
• refer to an issue which is currently the subject of a formal council complaint, Local Ombudsman complaint or any legal proceedings

If your petition relates to an issue which is beyond the powers of the council to address, it may be more appropriate to start an e-petition on the Number 10 website (http://petitions.number10.gov.uk/). - Related Link

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Question: What will happen to my petition once I have submitted it to the Council?

Answer: Once your petition is complete you can either post or hand-deliver it to the Council. When submitting your petition please specify how many signatures it contains.

If the petition has accumulated 2,500 or more signatures you (as the petition organiser) will be offered the choice to:

1. have the petition presented at a Full Council meeting for debate or;
2. ask a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting of the Scrutiny Committee or;
3. receive a response directly from the relevant Executive Member.

Please see the Petition Scheme section at the end of the Council’s Constitution for more information about these options.

If your petition receives less than 2,500 signatures, it will be passed to the relevant Executive member who will deal with the request contained within the petition as they consider appropriate.

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