How councils will respond to your petition

What your petition can achieve

Every local authority publishes a Petition Scheme which describes in detail what they will do with the petitions they receive. See your local council petitions section:

How your council responds will depend on what the petition asks for and how many people have signed it.

For each council, a certain number of signatures (the ‘threshold level’) will automatically mean that the petition will be debated at a full council meeting.

Each council also has a lower threshold figure which, if reached, would result in a senior council officer giving evidence at a public meeting. The thresholds for the councils are set out in each authority’s Petition Scheme

In general, a council could:

  • take the action requested in the petition
  • any other actions it could take in relation to the issues raised
  • consider the petition at a council meeting
  • hold an inquiry into the matter
  • undertake research into the matter
  • hold a public meeting
  • hold a consultation
  • hold a meeting with petitioners
  • refer the petition for consideration by the council’s appropriate overview and scrutiny committee
  • call a referendum
  • write to the petition organiser to set out its position and explain its views in more detail.

NB Overview and scrutiny committees are committees of councillors who are responsible for scrutinising the work of the council – they have the power to hold the Council’s decision makers to account.

If your petition is about something over which the Council has no direct control

If your petition is about something for which the council is not fully responsible, (for example the local railway or hospital) it will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant organisation. Councils often work in partnership with other local bodies and, where possible, will work with them to respond to your petition.

Presenting your petition to the council

Different councils will apply different procedures to presenting petitions to meetings, councillors and senior officers.

Find out what the rules are for you local council by reading their published Petition Schemes via the links at the top of this page.