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Petitions and e-petitions: Frequently Asked Questions

We welcome petitions and e-petitions from all people including under 18s who are resident, working or studying in Runnymede. Petitions are one way in which you can let us know about Council matters that are important to you.

  • Q1: Who can create a petition?


    Anyone who lives, works or studies in Runnymede, including under 18s can sign or create a petition.

  • Q2: Why create a petition?


    Petitions submitted to the Council inform debate and can have positive outcomes that lead to change.

  • Q3: What is an e-petition?


    An e-petition is a form of petition on a website. Individuals or groups can create a petition on the site and visitors can add their details to the petition to '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 for people without internet access. Their signatures will be added as 'offline' signatures by the Petitions Officer.

  • Q4: What is the difference between a paper and an e-petition?


    There is no theoretical difference, only the way in which the signatures are collected and delivered. A petition can gather names and addresses in either or both forms, though once someone has signed a petition in one format, they cannot sign it in another. Some people may consider e-petitions more convenient as they can then gather 'signatures' via e-mail rather than having to gain signatures in person and the e-petition is submitted online instead of being posted. E-petitions have the added benefit of being published online for a wider audience to view.

  • Q5: How do I submit a petition by post?


    If you are unable to create a petition online or prefer to collect signatures in person, you can submit a petition by post to Corporate Head of Law and Governance.

  • Q6: What happens if I submit a petition?


    All petitions sent to Runnymede Council will receive an acknowledgement from the Petitions Officer within 10 working days of receipt. If you have submitted an e-petition you will receive an acknowledgement by e-mail, otherwise it will be by post. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition. Please be aware that submitting a petition does not automatically guarantee that the subject of the petition will be acted upon.

  • Q7: When will my petition be published online?


    It may take up to five working days before it is published online. This is because we have to check that the content of your petition is suitable and/or is something that we can accept a petition about in accordance with the Petitions scheme before it is made available for signature.

  • Q8: How many signatures do I need?


    Petitions with 50 or more signatures will be considered, 750 or more signatures for a senior member of staff 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. The Council or senior member of staff will consider the petition and decide whether to take the requested action. Upon achieving the required number of signatures the matter will be considered at the next full Council meeting.

  • Q9: What happens if I do not get 50 signatures?


    Petitions with fewer than 50 signatures will be sent as a normal piece of correspondence to the relevant department for a response.

  • Q10: What if my petition is about a County Council matter?


    Petitions can also be presented to local committees of the Surrey County Council. The minimum number of signatures varies between local committees, depending on their local protocol. Please contact the Cabinet Business Manager for guidance about submitting a petition to the County Council Surrey County Council's e-petitions site.

  • Q11: Can I attend the meeting when my petition is discussed?


    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. They may speak to the Council meeting about the petition for up to five 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.

  • Q12: Signature thresholds


  • Q13: Who are mySociety?


    mySociety builds websites which give people simple, tangible benefits in the civic and community aspects of their lives. It is strictly neutral on political issues, and is run by registered charity UKCOD (no. 1076346). mySociety's role was in designing and building the petition software to be as easy to use, as transparent and as trustworthy as possible.

  • Q14: 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.

  • Q15: What is an offline signature?


    If you don't have your own e-mail address but still want to sign an e-petition you can be added as an 'offline signatory'. Contact Clare Pinnock, Carol Holehouse or Petitions

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