Dorset e-Petitions - Petition Guidance

Petition Guidance

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How do I start an electronic petition?
What should a petition contain?
How and when is the petition published?
How can I sign an electronic petition?
How many names should be on the petition?
What happens when a petition reaches its closing date?
Can I submit a petition to more than one council?
Can I still submit a paper petition?


How do I start an electronic petition?

On the petitions homepage, select the ‘Submit a Petition’ option. If you have not already done so, you will be required to register as a petition organiser. 

If you have previously registered as a petition organiser then you will need to login.  If you are registered as a petition supporter then you will need to supply additional personal details before you can submit a petition.

As a petition organiser, you will be asked to give your name, home address and home postcode, email address and confirm by providing a valid postcode that you work, live or study in the area to which your petition relates.

Once you are logged into the system you will be presented with an online form to capture the petition title, summary and details of the petition.  You will be able to specify a start and finish date for your petition, up to a maximum of twelve months. You will also need to identify which of the Dorset Councils you wish the petition to be submitted to.

Once completed, the form will be submitted to the council you have chosen for review.  The Democratic officer may contact you to discuss your petition before it is approved and is made ‘live’.

What should a petition contain?

In line with the paper system, a petition should include a brief title and a short statement covering the subject matter of the petition. The petition should clearly state what action the petitioner wishes the council to take.  Electronic petitions have the facility to attach supplementary information electronically.  The electronic petition will be returned to the petition organiser for further clarification should this be unclear.  Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.

See Terms and conditions for petitions for the type of information that will be required to submit a petition.

It is possible to run the same petition in both paper and electronic format.  The petition organiser must state that a paper petition is also running.  This will be reflected on the website.  Both forms should run for the same period of time and must be submitted together.

How and when is the petition published?

On receipt of the petition, Democratic Services officers will check your petition to make sure that it meets the basic requirements set out in our Terms and conditions for petitions and that it meets the council's petition scheme requirements.  This period of review may take up to five working days.
Once your petition is approved, we will notify you and the petition will be published as a current petition on the website.

If we feel we cannot publish your petition for some reason, we will contact you within five 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 under the 'rejected petitions' section of the website.
Once your petition has been approved and is published on the website, your name, the title, summary and detail of the petition will be visible along with any approved supplementary information. 

Electronic petitions can be withdrawn by contacting the appropriate Democratic Services Officer of the council to whom you submitted the petition.

How can I sign an electronic petition?

A petition will only be available for signing once the start date has been reached.  An electronic petition can be signed by a person of any age who lives, works or studies in the district, borough or county area to which the petition applies.  A supporter of a petition must be a registered user to sign an electronic petition.  You will be asked to provide some basic details including a valid email address for verification purposes. Details of all signatories will be passed to the lead petitioner on the completion of the petition.  You can elect to receive updates to the petition using the email address you supply.

The e-petition system will not allow someone to sign a petition more than once.  If there is a paper and electronic version of the same petition, you should only sign one of the petitions, either the paper or the electronic version, but not both.  The e-petition on the website will show the total number of signatures received for the e-petition only. 

If requested, supporters to a petition will be notified by email as to the outcome of the petition.  The system will allow you to only sign an electronic petition once.  Only your name will be published on the list of signatories supporting the petition.

How many names should be on the petition?

There is no maximum number to the number of names on a petition.   The number of names required to bring about actions varies between the council schemes.  For further information as to the minimum number of signatories required for a petition to be accepted and the number of signatories required to bring about specific actions, please refer to the relevant council’s petition scheme.  Each council petition scheme is available using the links on the left hand side of the page.

What happens when a petition reaches its closing date?

When the petition reaches its closing date, it will no longer be available for signing.  The list of signatories will be collated and the petition organiser will be contacted within 10 working days to discuss what the council plans to do with the petition.  This action will be published on the website.  Any signatory who elected to receive email updates will be updated as to the status of the petition along with any outcomes.  The outcome of the agreed action will also be posted on the website.

Petitions that do not reach the minimum number of signatures required will not be taken any further and will automatically be closed, notifying the petition organiser and any signatories.

Petitions that are either awaiting action by the council or closed can still be viewed using the search functionality. 

Can I submit a petition to more than one council?

You can submit a petition to more than one council.  Please contact the Democratic Services Officer listed in the schemes who will advise you on the best method of achieving this.

Can I still submit a paper petition?

Yes, you can still submit paper petitions.  A petition may also gather names and in both forms - you can have a paper version and an online electronic version, although repeat names should be removed. Both forms should run for the same period of time and must be submitted together. When submitting an e-petition, please let us know if you are running a paper petition as well and this can be highlighted in the electronic petiton on the website.








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