Local authorities currently have their own procedures for dealing with petitions. The Local Democracy, Economic Development and Construction Bill places a duty on principal local authorities to respond to petitions.
The Government aim to keep the scope of the duty as broad as possible, but acknowledged in the Communities in Control: Real People, Real Power White Paper (Cm 7427) that there are some issues, such as planning, which already have extensive statutory public involvement procedures and should be excluded from the duty to respond to petitions. The Government are considering whether the Licensing and Gambling regimes, which also have public involvement specifically built into their processes, should be excluded from these proposals. All exclusions to the duty to respond to petitions would be subject to public consultation.