Maldon District Council logo Online Petitions

Petitions Guidance

Petitioning is one way that individuals, community groups and organisations can participate in the democratic process, by raising issues of public concern with the Council and allowing Councillors to consider the need for change either within the Maldon District or on a wider scale.

In addition to paper petitions, we offer an online petitioning service so you can publish and collect signatures on your petition through this website.  This means that the petition can be made available to a potentially much wider audience giving you the opportunity to gather names in support.

What can petitions achieve?

Petitions sent in to the Council can have positive outcomes that lead to change or inform debate.

For example, petitions can:

  • bring an issue to the attention of the Council;
  • show strong public approval or disapproval to something that the Council is doing.

 

What issues can a petition relate to?

Petitions should be relevant to a matter over which the Council has powers or duties.

Can I raise a petition?

To raise a petition you should be an interested party who either lives, works or studies in the Maldon District.

Can I sign a petition?

People signing petitions (signatories) should live, work or study in the authority's area.

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How do I start a petition?

There is no particular process for starting a paper petition.  Generally you and other key petitioners will gather signatures until a date you have decided in advance. 

To produce an ePetition, you must complete the online ePetition form and submit it to the Council.  You may be contacted to explain some of the petition’s information.  The Council will then organise for the petition to be published online.

It is possible to combine paper petitions with an e-petition,provided the petition organiser has selected the relevant option when completing the online ePetition form.   Some people prefer this option as they find it easier to have one they can hand around to friends and family.

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What should my petition contain?

A petition should include a brief title and a short, clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition.  It should clearly state what action the petitioner wishes the Council to take.  The petition will be returned to you to explain further if it is unclear.

In order for the petition to be considered;

Paper petitions must clearly display:

  • the title/subject of the petition;
  • the petition organiser's contact address (who we will write to about the petition);
  • the name, address and signature of anyone supporting the petition.

 

ePetitions must follow the e-petitions online form and must clearly display:

  • the title/subject of the petition;
  • the petition organiser's contact address (who we will write to about the petition);
  • the name and location of any person supporting the petition;
  • the starting and closing date of the petition.

 

The contact details of the petition organiser are essential.  For ePetitions, although the name and address of any person supporting the petition is required for checking purposes, only the name and area will be displayed.

A petition must be submitted in good faith.  You must not include:

  • potentially libellous, false or defamatory statements;
  • matters which are subject to prescribed statutory requirements, such as changes to governance arrangements;
  • information protected by a court order or in accordance with any other enactment;
  • matters which are subject to appeal processes or legal actions (e.g. planning appeals, enforcement action or other legal actions in court etc);
  • material which is commercially sensitive, confidential or which may cause personal distress or loss;
  • the names of individual officials of public bodies;
  • the names of individuals, or information where they may be easily identified, in relation to criminal accusations;

 

Please note that once submitted, we will endeavour to approve ePetitions within 5 working days.  Once the petition has been accepted it will become a public document accessible via the website.  Petitioners are advised to take this timeframe into account before proceeding.

You should take care not to include any information or signatures that should not be made public.

Petitions that do not follow these guidelines including those which are vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.  In these cases, you will be informed in writing of the reasons why a petition cannot be accepted.  If you are not satisfied with the reason for your petition being rejected the matter can be further considered by the Director of Resources.

In the six weeks before an election or referendum the Council cannot publish any material which may support any political party or a point of view which may be associated with any political party.

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Promoting the ePetition

As with paper petitions, the responsibility for publicising the ePetition lies with the petition organiser.

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What happens once the signatures have been collected?

The petition organiser should decide when he or she has collected sufficient names and submit it to the council for consideration.  The Council requires a minimum of 50 signatures for the petition to become valid.

For ePetitions, the petition organiser should set a closing date. Once that closing date has been reached, the petition organiser should then arrange for it to be submitted as appropriate.

For further information relating to petitions and numbers of signatures required in particular cases, please see the Council's Petitions Scheme.

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What is the process for submitting an ePetition?

As soon as the closing date is reached the petition organiser must ensure its final submission to the Council.  If a petition is not submitted within six months of its closing date an email alert will be sent to the petition organiser prior to the petition being archived.

If you are running a paper petition along side an ePetition, both parts of the petition must be received by the Council before they can be submitted for consideration.

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How many names should be on a Petition?

The Council requires a minimum of 50 signatures for all petitions to become valid.

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What happens after the petition is submitted?

Once the petition has been submitted to the Council, it will be referred on to the appropriate Head of Service or Senior Officer for consideration.  Feedback will be publicised on the ePetition web site once the details are available.

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Privacy Statement

Your ePetition details will be held in computer readable form to allow the petition organiser to administer and submit the petition you have signed.  Only your name and area will appear on the website.  The other details you give are needed by the Council to validate your support.  This is the same information required for a paper petition.

Your details will only be used by the Council and the petition organiser for any petitions that you sign.  Your details will not be used for any purposes other than ePetitions, unless you have expressly given permission otherwise.

Petition Scheme

For further details please see the Council's Petition Scheme.

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Glossary
  • ePetition - a petition which collects names and addresses online, using the ePetition online system.
  • Petition Organiser - the person who initiates the petition and decides when it is to be submitted.
  • Collecting signatures - an ePetition that is collecting names and addresses online.
  • To be submitted petitions - a petition, which is no longer collecting support online, but has not yet been submitted to the council.
  • Submitted Petitions - a petition that has been submitted to the Council and which it is currently considering.
  • Concluded petitions - a petition that has been submitted to the council, been considered and reached the point where no further action will be taken.

 

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