e-Petitions - Questions and Answers

General questions

What is an e-petition?

An e-petition is a form of petition posted on a website. Individuals or groups can create e-petitions on the site and visitors can add their details to e-petitions to "sign" them. The format also makes it easy to collect signatures.

What's the difference between an e-petition and a paper petition?

The difference is the way in which the signatures are collected and delivered. A petition can gather names and addresses in either or both forms, though once someone has signed a petition in one format, they cannot sign it in another.

e-Petition signing questions

How do I sign the e-petition?

To sign the e-petition, you will need to give your name, address and email on the form provided. Once you have signed the e-petition, you will receive an email asking you to confirm that you wish to add your name to the e-petition by clicking a link. Once you have done this, your name will be added to the e-petition.

What will you do with my name and address details if I sign the e-petition?

Nothing, unless you expressly ask to sign up for other services available on this website. We will use your email address to confirm your signature and, unless you ask us not to, we will also send you notifications when the e-petition status has changed.

More than one person shares my email address - can we sign the e-petition?

Unfortunately there is a trade-off made between allowing anyone to sign e-petitions regardless of having an email address, and protecting the e-petitions from too much abuse. We have come down on the side of using one email address per person to act as an anti-abuse mechanism because it is now possible for anyone to get an email address for free in a few moments. On the converse, if we let people use one address to sign multiple times we will likely see considerable fake signatures almost straight away.

e-Petition creation questions

How do I create my e-petition?

You can create your e-petition using our e-petition form. You will be asked to provide some basic information about yourself and your e-petition.

Do you accept all e-petitions?

We aim to accept as many e-petitions as possible. However this site has to meet standards that are set out in our e-petitions guidelines page

Petitioners may freely disagree with the Council or call for changes of policy. There will be no attempt to exclude critical views and decisions to accept or reject will not be made on a party political basis.

What happens if my e-petition is rejected?

If your e-petition does not meet our standards as set out in our e-petitions guidelines page, we will send it back to you along with an explanation of the reason(s) for rejection. We will give you the option of altering and resubmitting the e-petition.

Can I still send in a paper petition?

Yes. Paper petitions can still be posted/delivered to the Council.

Information, Research and Customer Planning Group
Somerset County Council
County Hall

How long will my e-petition run for?

You can decide how long your e-petition can run for, the maximum is 12 months.

What will happen to my e-petition once it is finished?

Once your e-petition has closed, usually provided there are 500 signatures or more, it will be passed to Council officials for a response.

Our response to a petition will depend on what the 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
  • referring the petition to an appropriate decision maker for response
  • undertaking research or holding an inquiry into the matter
  • holding a public meeting with petitioners
  • referring the petition for consideration by the council's Scrutiny Committee
  • considering the petition at a County Council meeting