Questions about petitions

1. Why create a petition?

Petitions submitted to the Council inform debate and can have positive outcomes that lead to change. For example, they can:

  • bring an issue to the attention of the Council for it to consider
  • demonstrate strong public approval or disapproval to something that the Council is doing or proposing to do.

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 Woking.

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2. What is an e-petition?

An e-petition is a form of petition posted 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 also makes it easier for us to respond directly by using email.

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3. What's the difference between an e-petition and paper petition?

There is no theoretical difference, only the way in which the signatures are collected and delivered. Some people may consider e-petitions more convenient as they can gather 'signatures' via email rather than having to gather these 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.

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4. Can I view a list of submitted petitions?

Yes, a list of open, closed and rejected petitions can be viewed under List of Petitions.

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5. How do you submit a petition by post?

If you are unable to create a petition online or prefer to collect signatures in person, you can find details about submitting your petition by post.

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6. What happens if you submit a petition?

All petitions sent to Woking Borough Council will receive an acknowledgement from the Council within 14 days of receipt. If you have submitted an e-petition you will receive an acknowledgement by email, 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.

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7. When will your e-petition be published online?

When you first create an e-petition, 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 e-petition is suitable before it is made available for signature.

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8. How many signatures do you need?

The type of response the Council provides will be dependent on the number of signatories to the petition. The table below summarises the Council's approach.

Number of Signatories Response
less than 10 Response from Officer (treated as standard correspondence).
10 - 99 Response from Chief Executive in consultation with the Leader of the Council.
At least 100 Automatically referred to the Executive.
At least 200 Officer(s) called to provide evidence at a meeting of the Overview and Scrutiny Committee. This threshold only applies where such action is requested in the petition.
At least 400 Automatically referred to a meeting of full Council.

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9. Can I choose which meeting my petition is discussed at?

In order for a petition to be considered at a meeting of the Council, Executive or Overview & Scrutiny Committee the signature threshold must be reached (Qu.8). A petition must also be submitted 21 days in advance of the relevant meeting (this is to allow sufficient time for the item to be included on the agenda which is published 7 days in advance of the meeting and to allow the Council 14 days to acknowledge the petition).

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10. Can you attend the meeting when your petition is discussed?

The petition organiser or their nominee will be invited to attend the meeting. The presentation of a petition is limited to not more than three minutes, and should be confined to reading out, or summarising the purpose of the petition, indicating the number and description of signatories, and making supporting remarks relevant to the petition.

If you are not the petition organiser, you may still attend the meeting at which the petition is discussed, but you would not be able to speak.

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11. How can you get help deciding if your issue is suitable for a petition?

Before considering whether or not to submit a petition to Woking Borough Council, you may want to discuss your issue with your local Councillor who may be able to help you with it or explain how to make representations on a particular subject to the right person at the Borough Council.

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12. How do you create or sign an e-petition?

Find out how to create a new e-petition or sign an existing one.

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13. Any more questions?

If your question isn't listed above, please contact Member Services as follows:

Member Services
Civic Offices
Gloucester Square
Woking
Surrey
GU21 6YL

Tel: 01483 743863
email: memberservices@woking.gov.uk