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Petitions

Petitions allow you to raise concerns that are important to you and have a direct influence on the political process.

If you're concerned about something the Council is responsible for, or that the Council can influence, you can submit a petition to the Council.

How to submit a petition

To submit a petition, post it to:

Chief Executive,
South Tyneside Council,
Town Hall and Civic Offices,
Westoe Road,
South Shields,
NE33 2RL

What can I petition about?

You can submit petitions on:

  • Things the Council is responsible for
  • Issues that affect South Tyneside which the Council can influence
  • Anything that can improve the economic, social or environmental wellbeing of the Borough, which the Council or its partners can contribute to.

Who can submit a petition?

Anyone who lives, works or studies in South Tyneside, including under 18s, can sign or organise a petition.

You should first check to see if:

  • The Council is already acting on your concern
  • The Council is the most appropriate body to receive your petition

You can do this by contacting the Council or your local Councillor.

Who can sign a petition? 

A petition can be signed by anyone who lives, works or studies in South Tyneside.

What will not be accepted as a petition?

In certain circumstances some petitions may not be accepted, including:

  • If the petition applies to a planning application
  • If it is a statutory petition (for example, asking for a referendum on having an elected Mayor)
  • If the petition is on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal or a separate complaints process
  • Any petition which we consider to be intended to cause distress or is abusive or otherwise inappropriate (we will explain the reasons for this)
  • Where a person or organisation (or someone on their behalf) has submitted a petition which is the same, or substantially the same as one submitted, within the last 12 months.

What do I need to say in my petition?

You must include a clear and concise statement explaining what the petition is for.

It should state:

  • What action you wish the Council to take;
  • The name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition (the address can be an address where the person lives, works or studies).

Petitions should also include the name, address and contact details of the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. We may refer to this person as the Lead Petitioner.

The contact details of the petition organiser will not be published on the website. If the petition does not name a petition organiser, and it is not clear from the petition who this person might be, we will normally contact the person whose name appears first on the petition.

Acknowledging your petition

We will respond to all petitions that meet the criteria set out in the Council Constitution3.23MB. We will be as flexible as we can when handling your petition so that it is considered quickly and in the most appropriate way.

  • We will acknowledge your petition within 10 working days of receiving it
  • We will let you know the name and contact details of the Council officer who is handling the petition, what happens next and when you can expect to hear from us again
  • If the petition needs more investigation, we will keep you updated with progress
  • If we decide that your petition can not be accepted then we will let you know our reason(s)
  • If a petition is the responsibility of one of our partners, the petition will be sent to them to deal with within seven working days of its receipt

How we will respond to your petition

All petitions will be placed on the Agenda at a meeting of Borough Council, where the purpose of the petition and number of signatures will be heard. Petitions will normally be considered at the next meeting of the full Council, but must be received at least 8 working days before the date of the meeting.

There will be no debate at the meeting of Borough Council. The meeting will refer the petition to an appropriate body who will consider the most appropriate action, which may include one or more of the following:

  • Taking the action requested in the petition
  • Carrying out research into the matter
  • Holding an inquiry into the matter
  • Holding a meeting with the people who have signed the petition
  • Carrying out consultation
  • Holding a public meeting
  • Referring the petition to one of the Council's Community Area Forums (CAFs) 
  • Referring the petition to be considered by one of the Council's Select / Scrutiny Committees
  • Holding a public meeting
  • Considering the petition at a subsequent Council meeting
  • Writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition

Petitions that have been referred to an appropriate officer

Where Council has referred the petition to an appropriate officer, you will be advised the name and contact details of the officer dealing with the petition.

The officer, in consultation with the Lead Member, will consider the next steps and contact you regarding further action to be taken.

Petitions that have been referred to a Community Area Forum

Where Council has referred the petition to a Community Area Forum, you will be advised of the date and location of the meeting and a contact name and number of the person dealing with your petition.

Petitions that have been referred to a subsequent meeting of Borough Council

Where a further debate by full Council is considered the most appropriate route, the petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting (this may be extended at the discretion of the Chairperson) and the petition may then be discussed by Councillors for a maximum of 15 minutes.

The Council will decide how to respond to the petition at this meeting.

They may decide to:

  • Take the action the petition requests
  • Not to take the action requested for reasons put forward in the debate
  • Refer the issue to the Chief Executive.

If the Chief Executive is required to make a final decision, the full Council should decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision.

The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision.

You can check on progress with your petition by contacting the Strategy and Democracy Team on 0191 424 7691 / 7261 or by emailing Hazel.Breeze@southtyneside.gov.uk 

    What if I'm not happy with your response to my petition?

    If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, you may make a complaint.

    We will try to deal with your complaint informally if we can. You should contact the officer who has been dealing with your petition in the first instance, or ask our Customer Advocates Team to do this for you. The service manager or a senior colleague will look into the problem and let you know within 10 working days how they may be able to help.

    Our focus at Stage 1 is on putting things right; you wouldn't usually receive a written response at this stage unless you ask for one. If you are still unhappy, you can ask for a formal investigation of your complaint under Stage 2 of the complaints procedure. You should do this within 28 days of receiving your response. It would be helpful to set out why you remain unhappy and any issues you feel we have failed to address.

    You can submit a complaint online at Complaints.

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