We actively encourage those who live, work or study in Merton to get involved in the decisions that affect them. One way to do this is through petitioning the council.
A petition is a request for action signed by more than two people. A petition can relate to anything that will improve the economic, social and environmental well being of Merton. Our Petition Scheme below sets out how to submit a petition and how we will respond.
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Petition Scheme: how petitions work in Merton
A petition is a request for some form of action signed by more than two people. We welcome petitions signed by those who live, work or study in Merton. A petition can relate to anything that will improve the economic, social and environmental well being of Merton.
What should be in a petition?
Firstly a petition should set out clearly what action the petitioners would like to see take place. The clearer the statement is the easier it will be for us to respond in the right manner.
The petition should then record the name, address and signature of each individual supporting the petition. One person should be clearly marked as the petition organiser. This is the person we will communicate with and send our response to. If you would like advice on how to set out your petition please contact us at Getinvolved@merton.gov.uk or 020 8545 3896.
How do I submit a petition?
There are three ways to submit a petition to us: by post, electronically and presented by a councillor.
When considering how to submit your petition you may wish to check if there is a deadline in place for a decision to be taken that you wish to influence. For example if you wish to influence a consultation taking place you should ensure your petition is submitted before the deadline for responses to that consultation.
Can a petition be rejected?
There are some petitions we cannot accept or publish on our website. Occasionally we, like all public institutions, receive correspondence from individuals who make persistent complaints, and can be abusive or offensive to staff and other residents. Petitions that we consider to be vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate will not be accepted.
By a vexatious petition we mean an obsessive pursuit of something unreasonable or unrealistic, or something reasonable made in an unreasonable manner. Inappropriate petitions may include those relating to an individual's personality or personal life, matters which are part of ongoing legal proceedings, or matters that do not clearly relate to the economic, social and environmental well being of Merton.
We will also not accept petitions that call for the same action as another petition already being considered. This includes e-petitions live on our e-petition facility or a petition that has been received in the last 12 weeks.
Some petitions will relate to matters that are subject to existing procedures. This includes petitions in relating to planning decisions, licensing decisions and matters where individuals already have a right of appeal, such as school place allocations. We are happy to receive petitions on these matters but we will need to treat them in accordance with the relevant rules for these matters. For further details please contact us.
During election campaigns we are subject to strict guidelines on what information we can publish. This may affect the e-petitions we can accept and publish on our website and in some cases may cause a delay in when we can respond to the petitions we receive.
What happens after I submit a petition?
The first thing we will do is confirm that we have received your petition. We will send this acknowledgement to the petition organiser within 15 working days. This acknowledgement will also tell you who is responsible for responding to your petition. If the petition relates to a particular part of the borough we will also notify the councillors for that area that a petition has been received.
The way in which we will respond to your petition will depend on what you have asked us to do. You may wish to consider what kind of response you would like us to make and include that in your petition.
A response to your petition could include any of the following:
- Taking the action you have asked us to
- Taking action that is different but achieves the same desired results
- Writing to you to explain why we will not take the action
- Considering your petition at a meeting of the council or at a council committee meeting
- Calling a senior officer or cabinet member to account at a council committee meeting
- Organising a public meeting or a meeting with the petitioners
- Considering your petition as part of a wider consultation, for example consultations on planning and licensing applications
- We may want to conduct further research or consult with others
- We may call a referendum
- We may approach another organisation on your behalf to ask them to respond to the petition
Whatever our response is we will make sure it is set out in writing, sent to the petition organiser and made available on our website. We aim to set out our response to all petitions within 20 working days, however in some cases it may take longer than this. We will inform the petition organiser if there is any delay in responding to the petition.
If we will be discussing your petition at a meeting we will notify the petition organiser of the date, time and venue for the meeting as soon as possible. We will also tell you how you can get involved at that meeting. Once the meeting has taken place we will write to you to let you know what happened at the meeting.
What happens if my petition is not dealt with properly?
We aim to respond to all petitions in the best way possible. If you feel that we have not dealt with your petition properly then the petition organiser can ask our Overview and Scrutiny Commission to review the steps we have taken to respond to your petition. You must notify the Scrutiny team that you would like a review of our response within 28 days of receiving the response. For further information please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
How do I find out how the council is responding to petitions?
The responses to all the petitions we receive will be set out on our e-petition facility once it is live. In addition we will review this petition scheme and report an analysis of the petitions we have received to a meeting of the council each year. This report will be available on our website.
How can I let the council know what I think about the petitions scheme?
We welcome your views on the petition scheme and e-petition facility at any time. You can use the contact details below to let us know what you think. In addition when we review the petition scheme we will ask customers about their experiences so we can improve the scheme.
Consultation and Community Engagement Team
Telephone: 020 8545 3896