Petitions scheme - The Council's Petition Scheme

The Council welcomes petitions and recognises that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns. All petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement from the Council within 10 clear working days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition. We will treat something as a petition if it is identified as such, or if it seems to us that it is intended to be a petition.

Petitions should be sent to:

Democratic Services

Bassetlaw District Council


Queen’s Buildings

Potter Street


S80 2AH

Petitions can also be presented to an ordinary meeting of the Council. These meetings take place four times a year. Meeting dates and times can be found on our website at

If you would like to present your petition to the Council, or would like your Councillor or someone else to present on your behalf please contact the Democratic Services (details above) at least 10 working days before the meeting and they will talk you through the process.

If your petition has received 2,500 signatures or more it will also be scheduled for a Council debate and if this is the case we will let you know whether this will happen at the same meeting or a later meeting of the Council.

What are the guidelines for submitting a petition?

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 
  • The name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition.

The Council will take into account identifiable signatures of people who provide valid addresses, where they live, work or study in the area and may take into account other signatures.

Verification of addresses and signatures will be undertaken. Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond to the petition. If the petition does not identify a petition organiser, we will contact signatories to the petition to agree who should act as the 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 which will apply. 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.

What will the Council do when it receives my petition?

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. It will also be published on our website, although the contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed on the website.

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 acknowledgement 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 or licensing application, is a statutory petition (for example requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor), 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. Further information on these procedures are available on request.

We will not take action on any petition which we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate and will explain the reasons for this in our acknowledgement of the petition.

To ensure that people know what we are doing in response to the petitions we receive, details of all petitions submitted to us will be published on our website, except in cases where this would be inappropriate. Whenever possible we will also publish all correspondence relating to the petition (all personal details will be removed).

How will the council respond to petitions?

Our response to a petition will depend on what a petition asks for and how many people have signed it, but may include one or more of the following:

  • taking the action requested in the petition 
  • considering the petition at a Council meeting
  • holding an inquiry into the matter
  • undertaking research into the matter
  • holding a public meeting
  • holding a consultation 
  • holding a meeting with petitioners
  • referring to the petition for consideration to the Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee*
  • calling a referendum 
  • writing to the petition organiser setting out our views about the request in the petition 

*Overview and Scrutiny Committees are committees of Councillors who are responsible for scrutinising the work of the Council – in other words, the Overview and Scrutiny Committee has the power to hold the Council’s decision makers to account. 

In addition to these steps, the Council will consider all the specific actions it can potentially take on the issues highlighted in a petition. The table opposite gives some examples.

Petition Subject Appropriate Steps
Anti-social behaviour (ASB)

As the elected representatives of your local area, as social landlord and licensing authority, the Council has a significant role to play in tackling antisocial behaviour. When responding to petitions on ASB, we will consider in consultation with our local partners, all the options available to us including the wide range of powers and mechanisms we have to intervene as part of our role as social landlord and licensing authority.

For example, we will work with the neighbourhood policing team in the affected area to identify what action might be taken including what role CCTV might play, consider identifying a dedicated contact within the Council to liaise with the community and neighbourhood partners on issues of ASB in the area in question and, where appropriate, we will alert the crime and disorder reduction partnership and crime and disorder Overview and Scrutiny Committee to the issues highlighted in the petition.

Under performing health Services

We will work with local health partners to consider the matter raised in the petition including, where appropriate, exploring what role the Local Involvement Network (LINk) might have in reviewing and feeding back on the issue (the LINk is run by local individuals and community groups and independently supported – their role is to find out what people want in terms of local health services, monitor those services and to use their powers to hold them to account).

The County’s Health Scrutiny Committee or Bassetlaw District Council’s Health Select Panel will also be alerted to the petition and where the matter is sufficiently or potentially serious, the issue will be referred to them to consider for review.


If your petition is about something over which the Council has no direct control (for example the local railway or hospital) we will consider making representations on behalf of the community to the relevant body. The Council works with local partners and has positive links with the public, private and voluntary (third) sectors).

If your petition is about something that a different Council is responsible for we will give consideration to what the best method is for responding to it. This might consist of simply forwarding the petition to the other Council, but could involve other steps. In any event we will always notify you of the action we have taken.

Full Council Debates

If a petition contains 2,500 or more 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.

The Council will endeavour to consider the petition at its next meeting, although 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 30 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 to commission further investigation into the matter, for example by a relevant committee. Where the issue is one on which the Council’s executive 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. This confirmation will also be published on our website.

Officer Evidence 

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. For example, your petition may ask a senior Council officer to explain progress on an issue, or to explain the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision.

If your petition contains at least 750 signatures, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a public meeting of one of the Council’s overview and scrutiny committee. Senior staff that can be called upon include the Council’s Management team, comprising the Chief Executive and Directors and the Council’s Heads of Service.

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 the Democratic Services Officer at least five days before the meeting.

What can I do if I feel my petition has not been dealt with properly? 

If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly, the petition organiser has the right to request that the Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee review 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 Council’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee will endeavour 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 Overview and Scrutiny Committee determine we have not dealt with your petition adequately, it may use any of its powers to deal with the matter.

These powers include instigating an investigation, making recommendations to the Council’s Executive and arranging for the matter to be considered at a meeting of the full Council.

Once the appeal has been considered the petition organiser will be informed of the results within 5 working days. The results of the review will also be published on our website.

Appendix 2


  • Anyone who lives, works, or studies in the local authority area, including under 18s can sign or organise a petition and trigger a response 
  • Petitions must be acknowledged within the time period specified by the local authority 
  • Among the many possible steps the Council may choose to take in response to a petition the following steps must be included with the options listed within the scheme: 
  1. Taking the action requested in the petition
  2. Considering the petition at a meeting of the Authority
  3. Holding an inquiry
  4. Holding a public meeting 
  5. Commissioning research
  6. A written response to the petition organisers setting out the Authority's views on the request of the petition 
  • Petitions with a significant level of support trigger a debate of the full Council. Councils will determine this locally but it must be no higher than 5% of the local population.
  • Petitions with the requisite level of support, set by the local authority, trigger a senior local government officer to give evidence at a meeting of the Authority’s Overview and Scrutiny Committee.
  • Petition organisers can prompt a review of the local authority’s response if the response is felt to be inadequate.



Last Updated on Wednesday, May 8, 2024