"The arms that you wield now are not such as your forefathers wielded; but they are infinitely more effective, and infinitely more irresistable" ~ Cymru Fydd leaflet, 1890

Sunday 8 July 2012

How to e-petition the National Assembly for Wales

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Anyone, anywhere who has access to the internet can start an e-petition with the petitions committee for the National Assembly of Wales. The only criteria you need to meet is that the petition falls into one of the 20 devolved areas.

These are as follows.

  •     Agriculture, fisheries, forestry and rural development
  •     Ancient monuments and historic buildings
  •     Culture
  •     Economic development
  •     Education and training
  •     Environment
  •     Fire and rescue services and promotion of fire safety
  •     Food
  •     Health and health services
  •     Highways and transport
  •     Housing
  •     Local government
  •     National Assembly for Wales
  •     Public administration
  •     Social welfare
  •     Sport and recreation
  •     Tourism
  •     Town and country planning
  •     Water and flood defence
  •     Welsh language

Once you're ready then visit the petitions homepage and click "Submit a Petition Online". You will now be presented with a form to fill out. The first thing you will need to fill out is your details as principle petititioner. So you will be asked for your name, address, post code, organisation (if any) and the title of your petition.

Next you will be asked for the start and end dates for your petition. See below for more info on this. You then have two boxes to write the information for your petition. You don't need to use both boxes and it doesn't have to be a long essay. If you can state your reason for creating the petition in one paragraph then do it in one paragraph.

Next will be a yes / no check box asking if you, as lead petitioner would be prepared to give evidence to the petitions committee. Next up you will be asked to fill out a captcha box to prove you are human and then click submit.

Once the petition has been submitted it will be passed to the petitions clerks who will check that it falls into a devolved catergory and that there isn't already similar legislation in place. They will contact you via email or phone during this process and help you with the wording of your petition if it is needed. You may need to alter the phrasing or context of the petition if it clashes with a petition that has already been submitted. They will help you with all this and will also ask if you'd like to officially present the petition on the steps of the Senedd.

When that is done the petition will be sent for translation and as soon as it's live they will email you with the direct link so that you can then share the petition.

Anyone, anywhere is able to sign the petition and all you need is 10 (ten) signatures for the petition to be passed to the petitions committee. You will recieve updates when this is done and told when the petition is going to be discussed so you can watch the meeting on the Senedd website.

Whilst more signatures can show a stronger feeling towards a particular subject the petition is treated equally whether is has 10 or 10,000 signatures. So bare this in mind when deciding how long the petition should last. Two or three months is more than enough. And often by then, unless the petition deals with a very emotive subject it will have run out of steam by then.

Twitter and of course Facebook are both excellent ways of spreading the word and if you use the bit.ly website you can give your petition a free shortened url (ideal for twitter) and if you sign up (also free) you can track the amount of click throughs your link receives. You can even customise the link to give it an easier to remember name. Alternatively the petitions twitter account (@NAWPetition) will tweet your petitions link once it's live so you can always retweet and reuse that link. For more info on how to use tweets as links see "tweet bookmarks" on my guide to using twitter.

Occasionally people will have trouble signing a petition, advise them to use another browser or operating system if possible. If they still have no luck then you can contact the Senedd and they can add you manually to a petition.

Once the petition goes to the committee then you'll have done everything you can and it's out of your hands. They will contact you to let you know what happens as a result of your petition.

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