Petitions Terms and Conditions

You can petition us about anything that is within our control, for example one of our policies, or a decision or action by Councillors or officers.

Petitioners may freely disagree with the Council or call for changes of policy.

We will not attempt to exclude critical views and decisions to accept or reject will not be made on a party political basis.

For some issues, such as planning and licensing decisions or council tax banding and non-domestic rates, there is already an established way for communities to have their say, so these are not included in our petition scheme.  However, if we are failing to deliver these services properly then you can submit a petition.

For example, we cannot accept a petition about an individual planning application but you can petition us about failing to deliver an effective service for planning applications.

However, to protect this service from abuse, petitions should meet some basic criteria:

  • A title or subject of the petition
  • A short statement saying what the petition is about and it must state the action you wish the council to take
  • A minimum of 20 signatures of people who live, work or study in Norfolk, otherwise the Council reserves the right not to respond to it in accordance to our petition scheme
  • If a petition contains more than 4,500 signatures, it will be debated by the Full Council
  • The name of the person submitting the petition (known as the petition organiser)
  • The contact address of the petition organiser - we will use this address for any communications concerning the petition
  • The name and an address for any person signing the petition
  • An online petition may use the Councils online petition tool and each signatory must supply an email address in addition to a postal address.  We also accept petitions emailed to us or created using other petitions software, but only if the names, addresses and email addresses of people who have signed the petition are attached
  • The start and end dates for collecting signatures to the petition must also be specified in advance for online petitions

We will not deal with petitions that:

  • Include a matter which in our opinion is vexatious, abusive or contains otherwise inappropriate comments eg containing swearing or other insults or anything that is false or potentially defamatory
  • Do not comply with data protection, libel, equalities and anti-discrimination legislation
  • Concern employment matters for County Council staff

We reserve the right not to take action on:

  • Party political material.  Note, this does not mean you can’t petition on controversial issues.  For example, this party political petition would not be permitted: "We petition the Leader of the Council to change his party's policy on education” but this non-party political version would be: "We petition the Leader of the Council to change the Council’s policy on education"
  • Information which may be protected by an injunction or court order (for example, the identities of children in custody disputes)
  • Material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which may cause personal distress or loss
  • Any commercial endorsement, promotion of any product, service or publication
  • The names of individual officials of public bodies, unless they are part of the senior management of those organisations;
  • The names of family members of elected representatives or officials of public bodies
  • The names of individuals, or information where they may be identified, in relation to criminal accusations
  • Language which is intemperate, or provocative.  This is language to which people reading it could reasonably take offence because we believe it is possible to petition for anything politely.
  • Petitions that are similar to and / or overlap with an existing petition or petitions
  • Statements that don't actually request any action
  • Wording that is impossible to understand
  • Statements that amount to advertisements
  • Petitions which are solely intended to be humorous
  • Issues for which a petition is not the appropriate channel (for example, correspondence about a personal issue)
  • Freedom of Information or Environmental Information requests. This is not the right channel for FOI requests; information about the appropriate FOI procedure can be found here
  • During politically sensitive periods, such as just before an election, we have to be extra careful to ensure that all political parties enjoy a level playing field.  At such times, if your petition contains politically controversial material we may decide not to accept it or defer consideration of it until after the election.  If this is the case, we will explain the reasons and the revised timescale which will apply

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