Petitions and e-petitions: Frequently Asked Questions
Find out everything you need to know about submitting a petition to the Council.
What is an e-petition?
Individuals or groups can create a petition on-line and visitors can 'sign' it. The format makes it easy to collect signatures, and it also makes it easier for us to respond direct using e-mail. You can also have a paper version of the petition running alongside the e-petition. Their signatures will be added as 'offline' signatures by the Petitions Officer.
The Council welcomes e-petitions from anyone who lives, works or studies in Runnymede, including under 18s, which are created and submitted through our website; e-petitions must follow the same guidelines as paper petitions. The petition organiser will need to provide us with their name, postal address and e-mail address. You will also need to decide how long you would like your petition to be open. This can be up to a maximum of 12 months.
When you create an e-petition, it may take 5 working days before it is published on-line. This is because we have to check that the content of your petition is suitable.
If we cannot publish your petition, we will contact you within 5 working days to explain why. You will be able to change and resubmit your petition if you wish. If you do not do this within 10 working days, a summary of the petition and the reason why it has not been accepted will be published.
When an e-petition has closed, you will receive an acknowledgement within 10 working days. If you would like to present your e-petition to a meeting of the Council, please contact Bernard Fleckney within 10 working days of receipt of the acknowledgement.
How do I 'sign' an e-petition?
You can see all the open e-petitions on our website.
When you sign an e-petition you will be asked to provide your name, your postcode and a valid email address. When you have submitted this information you will be sent an email to the e-mail address you have provided. This email will include a link which you must click on in order to confirm the email address is valid. Once this step is complete you 'signature' will be added to the petition. People visiting the e-petition will be able to see who has signed but not their email.
What is an offline signature?
If you don't have your own e-mail address but want to sign an e-petition you can be added as an 'offline signatory' by phoning 01932 425627.
Is my petition suitable?
You may want to discuss your issue with your local Councillor before raising a petition. They may be able to help you or explain how to make representations on a particular subject to the right person at the Council.
Why create a petition?
Petitions offer you the opportunity of bringing issues to the Council's attention, so that we can consider your requests and, where appropriate and possible, bring about change for the better for the people of Runnymede.
How many signatures do I need?
Generally, petitions will each be treated on their merits - as a guide:
- debate at Council - 1,500 signatures
- senior member of staff to give evidence at the Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee - 750 signatures
- to be considered formally - 50 signatures
- to be treated as normal correspondence - less than 50 signatures
Can I attend the meeting when my petition is discusses?
If the petition contains more than 1,500 signatures the lead petitioner or spokesperson for the petition will be invited to attend the full Council meeting and present their petition for up to 5 minutes. The petition will be discussed for a maximum of 15 minutes and may be referred without discussion to the next appropriate meeting of a relevant Committee for a report on what action should be taken, or a response may be made at the meeting. If the petition is referred to a future meeting, we will let you know when that meeting will be.
If your petition contains 750 signatures and requires a senior member of staff to give evidence at the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee you may attend. However, only Committee Councillors will ask the questions at the meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions to the Chairman of the Committee by contacting Democratic Services up to three working days before the meeting.
If you are not a petition organiser you may still attend the meeting at which the petition is discussed, but you would not be able to speak.
What if your petition contains less than 1,500 signatures:
You may ask a Councillor to present a petition at full Council on your behalf. In such cases the petition will not be debated but referred for consideration by the appropriate Council committee. Any Councillor has the right to present, on your behalf, a petition at a meeting of the full Council. It must be relevant to the Borough Council's functions, or the whole or part of its area or some or all of its residents.
A Councillor who wishes to present a petition must notify the Chief Executive, or the Corporate Head of Law and Governance, that they wish to present the petition, before the start of the meeting.
The Councillor presenting it has a maximum of 5 minutes. The Councillor must do no more than read out or summarise the key points of the petition, inform the Council of the number and description of the persons signing it, and make any relevant supporting remarks that he or she thinks fit. The Councillor shall then hand the petition to the person presiding.
Petitions shall be presented at any Council meeting in order of which notice of them has been received.
Following the presentation of a petition, the Council shall refer it to the earliest meeting of the appropriate committee at which it is practical for the relevant members of staff to present a report, unless the petition contains an allegation that a councillor is in breach of the Code of Conduct for Runnymede Councillors, in which case it must be referred to the Standards and Audit Committee as well as the appropriate committee.
Please be aware that submitting a petition does not automatically guarantee that the subject of the petition will be acted upon.
How do I submit a petition by post?
Please send paper petitions to: Corporate Head of Law and Governance, Runnymede Borough Council, Civic Centre, Station Road, Addlestone, Surrey, KT15 2AH
Terms and Conditions for Petitions
Who can submit a petition?
Anyone who lives, works or studies in the Runnymede area, including under 18's, may create and submit a petition to Runnymede Borough Council.
What petitions must include
The petition must refer to a matter that is relevant to the functions of the Runnymede Borough Council. Petitions submitted to the Council must include:
- a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition;
- a statement about what action the petitioners wish the council to take;
- the name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition;
- 50 signatures or more for the petition to be considered, 750 signatures for a Senior Officer to give evidence at a public meeting of the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Select Committee and 1,500 signatures for a debate at full Council.
Questions about petitions
What is not allowed?
A petition will not be accepted where:
- it is considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate. 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;
- it refers to a planning or licensing application
- it refers to a decision for which there is an existing right of appeal, for example Council Tax banding
- it is a duplicate or near duplicate of a similar petition received or submitted within the last 6 months
- it refers to the conduct of a Councillor, who is/are subject to a separate Code of Conduct
Further information on the Council's procedures and how you can express your views are available here:
- Councillor's Code of Conduct
- Planning applications