Determination by the Presiding Officer under Standing Order 23.3 of the Proper Form of Petitions
The Presiding Officer has made the following determination of the proper form of public petitions submitted under Standing Order 23.
Means and format for submission
Petitions may be submitted on paper or electronically using the Senedd’s online petitions system. Petitions may collect signatures for a maximum period of six months.
For a paper petition the petition wording should be set out in full on each sheet (or side of a sheet) where signatures are asked for. A template is available on request.
Petitions should be submitted in good faith. They should call for the Senedd or the Welsh Government to take some specific action.
Petitions must clearly indicate:
- the name of the petitioner, who may be an individual or an organisation;
- the petitioner’s address, which must be in Wales, to which all communications concerning the petition should be sent;
- signatures from at least 50 people who support the petition and their names and addresses.
Petitions must not:
- contain language which is offensive, intemperate, or provocative. This not only includes obvious profanities swear words and insults, but any language which a reasonable person would regard as offensive;
- ask the Senedd to do anything which it clearly has no power to do (in particular petitions about matters that are not devolved are not admissible);
- be the same as, or substantially similar to, a petition which was closed less than a year earlier.
Petitions must comply in other ways with this determination.
Other factors concerning admissibility
Petitions that include or ask the Senedd to consider the following are not admissible:
- to intervene in the operational decisions or actions of local authorities and National Park Authorities, including planning decisions;
- to adjudicate, arbitrate or mediate personal or commercial interests (this is the role of a court or tribunal);
- matters that are ‘sub judice’ (subject to legal proceedings in the courts);
- matters that are already subject to determination by an ombudsman (or person with similar powers).
Petitions must not contain:
- potentially false or potentially defamatory statements;
- information which is prohibited from being published by an order of a court or a body or person with similar power;
- material which is potentially confidential, commercially sensitive, or which may cause personal distress or loss;
- any commercial endorsement, promotion of any product, service or publication or statements that amount to advertisements;
- the names of officials of public bodies, unless they are part of the senior management of those organisations;
- the names of family members of elected representatives or officials of public bodies;
- the names of individuals, or information where they may be identified, in relation to criminal charges;
- issues for which a petition is not the appropriate channel (for example, correspondence about a personal issue).
Freedom of Information (FOI) requests
Petitions that are essentially FOI requests will not be allowed. There are other specific arrangements for FOI requests.
Public Services Ombudsman for Wales (PSOW) cases
Petitions alleging specific cases of maladministration or service failure by public bodies are not admissible. In these cases petitioners are advised to contact the PSOW to take forward their concerns.