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What is not suitable for a Petition?

The Council will respond to all petitions in good faith and positively. However, petitions, which are in the opinion of the authority vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate, will be acknowledged and an explanation given as to why the authority will not be taking action, and will not host the petition on the Wiltshire Council website.

There is no rigid test or definition as to what is inappropriate, but the key question is whether the request and/or content is likely to cause distress, disruption or irritation, without any proper or justified cause. In most circumstances it should be the subject matter of the petition, rather than the personality of the petitioners or the manner in which the issue is supported, that is the deciding factor.

There are some matters that are excluded from the petition provisions, usually where there are already well established procedures in place for communities to have their say, then other procedures apply, for example:

• If the petition applies to a planning or licensing application,
• is a statutory petition (for example requesting a referendum on having an elected mayor),
• where there is already an existing right of appeal, such as council tax and non-domestic rates.

However if the petition relates to the failure to deliver such a service, these remain within the scope of the petition provisions.

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.

These guidelines are not exhaustive and there may also be other petitions which for one reason or another, it would be in appropriate for a local authority to consider – a key example is where the issue concerned is the subject of ongoing legal proceedings.

 

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