Petitions system reviewed by National Assembly committee
The National Assembly's Petitions Committee has published a report exploring the future development of the Assembly's petitions system.
Among the factors considered by the Committee were:
- The current admissibility criteria;
- The way in which the Assembly deals with admissible petitions; and
- How the Assembly's Standing Orders and other systems might need to change to support any recommendations.
"The Assembly's petitions system is a great way for people to get involved in the work of the Assembly and to bring issues they care about to light," said William Powell AM, Chair of the Petitions Committee.
"The feedback we have received over the past five years is that people value the system and that it can lead to positive change in Wales through influencing Government policy, or simply by allowing citizens the chance to have their concerns heard at the heart of government.
"The Committee did not feel there was a great call or need for fundamental changes to the petitions system, but we can always improve. We believe the incremental changes we have recommended will result in a more focused and relevant system, while retaining the easy accessibility that is such a valued feature of current arrangements."
The Committee makes 17 recommendations in its report (366Kb, PDF), including:
- The Assembly's online petitions system should be able to be used for petitioning on non-devolved matters that relate to Wales. These petitions would not, however, be referred to the Petitions Committee which would continue to deal only with petitions that are within the competence of the Assembly or the powers of Welsh Ministers.
- Only people resident in Wales or organisations that operate in Wales should be able to submit petitions. However, anyone, including young people, should continue to be able to sign petitions.
- The incoming Petitions Committee should develop clear criteria for prioritising the consideration of petitions. Among the criteria should be considering holding a plenary debate on any petition that obtains a certain number of signatures.
The report will now be considered by the Assembly's Presiding Officer and the Business Committee.