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Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009

Section 14 – Requirement to take steps

40.Section 14 requires principal local authorities to take one or more steps in response to petitions which meet the criteria set out in subsections (1) and (2) and are therefore “active” petitions. Authorities in England and Wales must take one or more substantive steps in response to a petition which relates to the authority’s functions. In England, principal authorities other than non-unitary district councils must also take steps in response to petitions relating to an improvement in the local economic, social or environmental well-being to which any of the partner authorities could contribute.

41.There is no duty to take any substantive step in relation to petitions which are vexatious, abusive or otherwise inappropriate to be dealt with. The appropriate national authority has power to make an order to provide that certain principal local authority functions are excluded, so that petitions on these subjects would not be “active”.

42.Subsection (6) sets out some examples of what the substantive steps might be and requires principal authorities to ensure that their petitions schemes include as a minimum all the listed examples as possibilities. Subsection (7) ensures that the petition organiser is told what steps will be taken, and that this information must be publicly available online unless it is inappropriate because, for example, it would breach someone’s right to privacy.

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