The Petitions Scheme
Petitions are a means by which the public can bring an issue to the attention of the County Council and ask for action to be taken. The information in a petition must be submitted in good faith and comply with the law. Each petition will be considered on an individual basis and it will be open to the County Council to exercise discretion in how it responds.
a) Subject to the Exclusion Criteria anybody who lives, works or studies in the Administrative County of Hampshire is able to raise or sign a petition asking for an action to be taken by the County Council;
b) Any matter raised with the County Council that identifies itself as such will be dealt with as a petition, which may include issues relating to partner organisations;
c) If a petition raises issues that relate to a partner organisation, the petition will be considered on an individual basis to determine which organisation is best placed to respond and the petition organiser notified;
d) Details of the petitions received, number of signatures and the responses provided will be published on the County Council’s website;
e) Petitions will be acknowledged within five working days with a response or details of the action being taken provided within 20 working days of the acknowledgement letter;
f) If a petition is not being considered under the scheme, the reasons for this will be included in the response;
g) Responses to petitions will be appropriate and proportionate to the issue raised, if a petition relates to an ongoing consultation process, then the petition will be considered as part of that process;
h) Petitions of 32,000 signatures (circa 2.5% of the population of the Administrative county of Hampshire) or more may request for a matter to be debated in full Council.
Requirements of a Petition
For consistency and to enable verification, the County Council requires that every petition includes key information:
a) A title or other wording that clearly sets out the issue and the action that is being requested of the County Council;
b) A lead petitioner, including their contact details (including where the lead petitioner is under 18 years of age, contact details of the person with parental responsibility for the lead petitioner);
c) The printed full name, signature and Hampshire address (postcode and house number or name) of everyone who has signed the petition. Petitioners must live, work or study in the administrative County of Hampshire, therefore the postcode that demonstrates such a connection with the County should be used. The County Council reserves the right to verify details.
Signatories where any of the required information (printed full name, signature and Hampshire address) is missing or illegible will be disregarded. Double entries and signatories where there is reason to believe the details are fictitious will also be disregarded. Please see the “Exclusion Criteria” tab for further details.
We allow petitions that contain:
|Addresses but no postcodes||123 Warsash Road, Fareham||Providing it is a Hampshire address|
|Postcodes only||GU34 2QG||Providing it is a Hampshire postcode|
|Street name only||Wellands Road, Lyndhurst||Providing it is a Hampshire address|
|Only a first name or surname listed||Sarah” or “C.Jones||Providing a Hampshire address or postcode is also given|
|No signature||Providing there is a printed name|
|Many names with the same address||
|Providing they are in the individual’s own handwriting and not one person writing all three names|
Prior to initiating a petition, petitioners are encouraged to seek the advice of the Democratic and Member Services team, who will be able to provide advice on the requirements and exclusions relating to any proposed petition.
Once submitted a petition will be considered closed and no changes or additional signatures will be accepted.
The timeframe for a response to a petition will not commence until it is received by the Chief Executive, c/o Head of Democratic and Member Services.
Guidance about exclusions to the Scheme
Some issues will not be appropriate for a petition. In order to avoid duplication, the policy areas of planning and licensing are excluded as are other matters where there is a statutory right to a review or appeal (except where there is an alleged failure of the County Council in respect of one of its functions).
Petitions initiated by Hampshire County Council employees where the subject matter relates directly to their employment or to their immediate area of responsibility are also excluded. This would cover matters where another right of recourse exists (e.g. the grievance procedure).
Petitions are not the right route for Freedom of Information (FOI) requests; information about the FOI procedure can be found on the Freedom of Information web pages. Other routes to bring matters to the County Council’s attention may be more appropriate and more information is available on the Have Your Say web pages.
Petitions which are considered by the Head of Governance/Monitoring Officer to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.
Petitions cannot target individual members of a community or County Council officers for reasons that do not relate to their role at the Council.
In the period immediately before an election or referendum petitions may need to be dealt with differently. If this is the case the reasons for this and the revised timescale which will apply will be discussed with the petition organiser.
The following exclusion criteria would normally apply and form the basis for a petition to be rejected:
a) Potentially libellous, false or defamatory statements;
b) Information which may be protected by an injunction or court order (for example, the identities of children in custody disputes);
c) The names of individuals, or information where they may be identified, in relation to criminal accusations;
d) Material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which may cause loss or personal distress without justified cause;
e) Any commercial endorsement, promotion of any product, service or publication;
f) The names of individual officials of public bodies, unless they are part of the senior management of those organisations. There is a complaints process available for disputes relating to the actions of individual officers and petitions regarding a County Council officer must relate to their role in delivering public services and not their character, personality or private life;
g) The names of family members of elected representatives or officials of public bodies;
h) Language which is offensive, intemperate, or inappropriately provocative. This not only includes obvious swear words and insults, but any language to which people reading it could reasonably take offence;
i) Petitions that are substantially the same as an existing petition or a petition that has been submitted and recorded on the County Council’s website in the previous 6 months;
j) Petitions which ask for things outside the remit or powers of Hampshire County Council to influence;
k) Petitions that don’t request any action;
l) Wording that is impossible to understand;
m) Petitions without an identifiable and contactable Lead Petitioner.
We reject petitions that contain:
|Names, but no addresses||Susan Cook, Barrie Edwards, Sophie Carter|
|Addresses listed without a name||Bluebell Cottage, Aldershot|
|Addresses outside of Hampshire||Bond Street, London|
|Suspected entries from the same person and entries in the same handwriting (other than entries by people with parental responsibility on behalf of children who cannot write)||Entries from a couple in the same writing is counted as one signature|
|Double Entries – Same name listed twice or more in the petition||If the address is the same|
|Fictitious or false names||Captain America|