The council welcomes petitions and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns.
For general advice on the submission of petitions and the timescales involved, please contact the Democratic Services Team at Bootle Town Hall on 0151 934 2788 / 0151 934 2181 .
All petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement within 10 working days. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition.
If you wish to submit a petition in respect of a planning application there is a different process as explained in question 5 below 'Can I make representations on a planning application?'
E-petitions can also be submitted online.
Petitions submitted to the Council must include a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish the Council to take, together with the name, address and signature of the person submitting the petition.
If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact the first signatory on the petition to act as petition organiser. Petitions which are considered to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.
In the period immediately before an election or referendum we may need to deal with your petition differently. If this is the case we will explain the reasons and discuss the revised timescale. If a petition does not follow the guidelines set out above, the Council may decide not to do anything further with it. In that case, we will write to you to explain the reasons.
An acknowledgement will be sent to the petition organiser within 10 working days of receiving the petition. It will let them know what we plan to do with the petition and when they can expect to hear from us again.
If we can do what your petition asks for, the acknowledgement may confirm that we have taken the action requested and the petition will be closed. If the petition has enough signatures to trigger a Council debate, or a senior officer giving evidence, then the acknowledgment will confirm this and tell you when and where the meeting will take place. If the petition needs more investigation, we will tell you the steps we plan to take.
If the petition applies to a planning application, licensing application, is a statutory petition or on a matter where there is already an existing right of appeal, such as council tax banding and non-domestic rates, other procedures apply.
If a petition contains more than 500 signatures it will be debated by the full Council unless it is a petition asking for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting. This means that the issue raised in the petition will be discussed at a meeting which all Councillors can attend.
If the petition is submitted by 12 noon, three working days prior to a Council meeting, the Council will endeavour to consider the petition at that meeting.
However on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will then take place at the following meeting. The petition organiser will be given five minutes to present the petition at the meeting and the petition will 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, or refer the matter to another decision-making body of the Council. Where the issue is one on which another Council body or Officer are required to make the final decision, the Council will decide whether to make recommendations to inform that decision. The petition organiser will receive written confirmation of this decision.
Please refer to our online calendar for meeting dates.
When a written petition relating to the Borough, and containing the signatures of at least 25 residents of the Borough, is submitted by a Councillor with a request that a deputation in support of such petition be received, arrangements will be made for the deputation to attend the relevant Cabinet /Committee meeting concerned.
The submission of a petition by a Councillor shall not be taken as an indication that that Councillor is in agreement with the objects of the petition.
Where the petition relates to a matter already upon an Agenda issued for a Cabinet / Committee meeting, provided that the petition is submitted by 12 noon three working days before the meeting. The deputation shall be invited to attend that meeting, and the matter concerned shall be dealt with in advance of other items on the Agenda.
Where the petition relates to a matter for which the Agenda has not yet been issued, the deputation shall be invited to attend the next appropriate meeting and the matter referred to in the petition shall be included as the first substantive item on the Agenda for such meeting.
When a deputation is received, only one of the deputation, who need not necessarily be a petitioner, shall speak, and such speech (inclusive of the reading of the petition) shall not exceed five minutes. The member of the deputation speaking shall address the Chair of the meeting and no members of the deputation shall enter into discussion or debate. The member of the deputation speaking may be asked questions on his/her presentation.
For some types of planning application, you can present a petition which must contain the names, addresses and signatures of 25 or more Sefton residents. To enable you or an appointed spokesperson to address the Planning Committee, in line with the Council’s public speaking process, the petition must be endorsed by a Councillor (who is not a Member of the Planning Committee).
The Chief Planning Officer must receive the petition by the latest neighbour consultation date, which is shown on the ‘important dates’ tab within the planning application details at the following link: Search and View Planning Applications and Appeals (sefton.gov.uk)
The petition can be submitted via email to the Planning Department: firstname.lastname@example.org
By handing it in / posting to: The Chief Planning Officer, Sefton Council, Magdalen House, 30 Trinity Road, Bootle. L20 3NJ.
The Council's rules with regard to public speaking at Planning Committee are as follows:
- Where there is a petition objecting to or supporting a planning application and this contains the names of at least 25 residents of the Borough and which is endorsed by a Sefton Councillor (who is not a Member of the Planning Committee) the representative of the petitioners shall be allowed to address the Committee upon the subject of the petition for up to a maximum of five minutes.
- The Council has prepared a form for anyone wishing to submit a petition which can be accessed here.
- When this occurs, the respondent (usually the applicant/agent for planning permission) will also be allowed to address the meeting for up to a maximum of five minutes. If the petition is in support of an application, the objectors (if any) will be permitted to respond for a period of five minutes
- Where there is more than one such petition, the respondent shall have five minutes to reply to each petition
- Members of the Planning Committee may ask questions of the petitioner and respondent at the conclusion of their five-minute presentations. Members may not, however, enter into a dialogue with petitioners/respondents.
- A dialogue will not be permitted between the applicant/agent and representatives of the petitioners. Normally, any questions or issues arising from representations will be responded to by officers and the Chair will identify those specific matters requiring a response.
- If, following notification, petitioners choose not to address the Committee the respondent will retain the right to address the Committee.
Your petition may ask for a senior Council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job.
If your petition contains at least 1,375 signatures, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a public meeting of the Council’s appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
You should be aware that the Overview and Scrutiny Committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition – for instance if the named officer has changed jobs.
The Committee may also decide to call the relevant Councillor to attend the meeting. Committee Members will ask the questions at this meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions to the Chair of the Committee by contacting Democratic Services up to 3 working days before the meeting.
If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the appropriate Council Overview and Scrutiny Committee reviews the steps that the Council has taken in response to your petition.
It is helpful to everyone, and can improve the prospects for a review if the petition organiser gives a short explanation of the reasons why the Council’s response is not considered to be adequate.
The Committee will aim to consider your request at its next meeting, although on some occasions this may not be possible and consideration will take place at the following meeting.
Should the Committee determine that we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter.
If the appropriate Overview and Scrutiny Committee has already dealt with the matter, it will be referred to the Chief Executive and an appropriate course of action determined. Once the appeal has been considered the petition organiser will be informed of the results within 5 working days.