Public participation

We encourage members of the public to participate in our affairs. All relevant issues raised by members of the public will be taken into account when the Council is making its decisions. 

How to participate in Council and committee meetings

You can participate at Council and committee meetings in the following ways:-

  • Questions: Our procedure rules allow a period of fifteen minutes in total for written questions to be put to the Council or a committee about any matter on which we have any powers or duties or which affects the district.
  • Petition: You can present a petition at a meeting to express local feeling about an issue or a suggested action that we might take. A petition must contain at least 10 signatures, but the way that a petition is dealt with does depend on the overall number of signatures.

In addition, members of the public are welcome to attend any Council or committee meetings unless personal or confidential business is being discussed. We will try to make sure that all meetings are held in venues that have reasonable access and seating for members of the public. A hearing induction loop is available at our offices in Trinity Road, Cirencester.

Asking questions

Who can ask questions?

Questions can be put by electors within the Cotswold district or a representative of a business operating within the Cotswold district.

What notice is required for questions?

A question must be delivered in writing, or by email, to the head of Democratic Services by no later than 5pm on the last working day before the date of the meeting (contact details below.) Each question must provide the name and address of the questioner and no more than two questions may be submitted by the same person or on behalf of a single organisation.

What is the scope for questions?

A question can be rejected by the proper officer if we have no responsibility for the matter or it does not affect the district. We will also not consider any question that is defamatory, offensive or frivolous. Additionally, we will reject a question which is substantially the same as a question which has been put at a meeting of the Council or a committee in the last six months, or requires the disclosure of confidential information.

What happens at the meeting?

Copies of any questions will be circulated to councillors and will be made available to members of the public who attend the meeting.

The chairman will invite the questioner to put the question to the councillor named in the notice.  If the questioner is unable to attend the meeting, they can ask the chairman to pose the question on their behalf.  The chairman can ask the question and/or indicate that a written reply will be given. 

A questioner who has put a question in person can also ask one supplementary question, without notice, in response to the reply to their question.  A supplementary question must arise directly out of the original question or the reply given.  The chairman can reject a supplementary question on any of the grounds detailed in the section above.

What form will the reply take?

If a public question has been submitted at least seven working days before a meeting, we will guarantee a written reply no later than 24 hours prior to the meeting.  We cannot guarantee written replies when questions are submitted later than that deadline. However, we will provide written responses within five working days of the meeting to any question which is not heard on the day.  We cannot guarantee an immediate answer to supplementary questions raised at a meeting; when this is not possible, the relevant councillor will provide a full written response within five working days .

If there are still public questions outstanding when the time allotted for their consideration at a meeting runs out, the questioners will receive a written answer.   There cannot be any discussion on questions but any matters raised by a question can be referred to the Council, the Cabinet or the appropriate committee.

Petitions

We welcome petitions from those who live, work, or study in Cotswold district and recognise that petitions are one way in which people can let us know their concerns or the strength of public feeling.

All petitions sent or presented to the Council will receive an acknowledgement within 10 working days of receipt. This acknowledgement will set out what we plan to do with the petition.

There is no standard format for a petition but it must include:

  • a clear and concise statement covering the subject of the petition. It should state what action the petitioners wish us to take;
  • the name and address and signature of any person supporting the petition, which must be not fewer than 10 persons.

Petitions should be accompanied by contact details, including an address, for the petition organiser. This is the person we will contact to explain how we will respond. If the petition does not identify an organiser, we will contact signatories to agree who should act in this capacity.  

Our local petitions scheme contains further information about submitting petitions, including  some matters which are excluded by law from the scheme. 

Details of petitions received, and of our response, will be published on the website. The contact details of the petition organiser will not be placed on the website.

Send paper petitions to the head of democratic services at the address found in the contact us bar at the bottom of the page.

e-Petitions

There is also provision in our local petitions scheme for petitions to be submitted online. Unfortunately the online facility is currently unavailable. 

Verification number for a constitutional change

Regulations made under the Local Government Act 2000 require every local authority to publish a verification number which is equal to five percent of the local government electorate on 15 February every year.

This figure represents the number of signatures needed on a petition to hold a referendum to decide whether the authority's political structure should be subject to a constitutional change to operate a mayor and cabinet executive or the committee system.

The notice is available to download from this page.

Current petitions

There are no current petitions.

Help to participate in meetings

We encourage everyone to participate in our meetings. 

If you require any additional assistance, for example a hearing loop, help with access etc, or concerns about participation, please discuss them with the head of Democratic Services (contact details below.)  We will do whatever we can to help or to reassure you.

Publishing of meeting agendas and minutes

A reasonable number of agenda papers are made available for members of the public attending meetings. Papers are published on our website five working days in advance of the meeting and a copy is available for inspection at our Trinity Road offices in Cirencester, during normal office hours. Minutes of the meeting are made available in the same way as soon as possible after the meeting.

Contact details

Our head of democratic services is the officer for all matters about our constitution. 

Contact the head of democratic services using:

Cotswold District Council
Trinity Road
Cirencester
Gloucestershire
GL7 1PX