Petitions

Online petitions

The East Sussex Petitions website lets you create an online petition which can be shared via social media such as Twitter and Facebook, and circulated in print.

A petition may only be signed by those who live, work or study in East Sussex. Each signatory to a petition should include their name and address (business, home or place of study).

How it works, and how to get started

1. To create a petition, you first need to register with the site.

2. Give your petition a title, description, and set a deadline date. Select the local council you think it should be addressed to. Then click Submit.

If you’re not sure about anything, such whether the content is acceptable to present at a council meeting, just include a note as part of your petition or contact us by email (below).

3. We’ll check everything, get in touch to confirm your contact details and, if needed, clarify some of the petition’s information. Everything can be changed at this stage.

4. Once everything is OK, we’ll publish it online. At this point, you can log back in to easily create paper versions of your petition.

Use the ‘Share’ button to email your friends or add it to your Facebook or Twitterfeed for example. You can also send Mailshots – an email message to everyone who’s already signed your petition online.

5. When your petition reaches your chosen closing date, you can decide whether to submit it to the relevant council for consideration.

If your petition has enough signatures it will be discussed at a meeting of the relevant council (District, Borough, or County Council). You may be able to present it yourself.

Note: A petition may only be signed by those who live, work or study in East Sussex. Each signatory to a petition should include their name and address (business, home or place of study).

What your petition can achieve

The council will let you know its decision and what action it will take, and its response will also be published here. 

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

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

If you want to submit a petition to one of the district or borough councils in East Sussex, please use the following links:

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.

Help and enquiries

Depending on what your petition is about, it will be handled by teams at different councils.

Contact Petitions team

Presenting your petition at council meetings

If you have been involved in organising a petition, you should talk to your local councillor about having it presented at a local council meeting.

Petitions are only presented if they are about matters for which the Council is responsible.

What happens to a petition?

The Chairman receives petitions from councillors immediately before full Council meetings. Often the Chairman refers petitions to the Cabinet or a Lead Member (a member of the Cabinet with an area of special responsibility) for consideration. Where this is done, one signatory to the petition is invited to address the decision making body about the petition.

Our Petitions Scheme describes the process of presenting a petition in more detail. The sections ‘Full council debates’ and ‘Officer evidence’ set out how many signatures are needed to trigger a full council debate, or require a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting. 

National Petitions

If your issue is wider than just East Sussex, there are some national resources available: 

Petition the government – GOV.UK
If you collect 100,000 signatures your petition could be debated in the House of Commons.

Petition Parliament
MPs can present all petitions they receive from their constituents, by giving a short statement in the House of Commons, or by placing it in the ‘Petition Bag’.

Participation and engagement with government

Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG)
The government department responsible for helping people take action to solve their own problems and create strong, attractive and thriving neighbourhoods.

Involve
Experts in public participation, a charity which helps citizens and governments to work together.