Under sections 10 to 22 of The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Act 2009 local authorities are required to meet certain obligations in respect of petitions.

Councils will have to set out clearly how local people can submit both paper and electronic petitions. The most popular petitions will also trigger a full council debate or require a senior council officer to answer to scrutiny hearings.

On 30 March DCLG published statutory guidance and a commencement order for the petitions scheme. This requires the council to have a petitions scheme (in line with the guidance) in place by 15 June 2010.