E-petitions in 2021
E-petitions are a means by which Islanders can seek action from either the States Assembly or the Government of Jersey. When an e-petition attracts 1,000 signatures, the relevant Minister needs to provide a written response. If an e-petition attracts 5,000 signatures, the Assembly is obliged to consider whether to have an in-Committee debate about the e-petition. This briefing paper summarises e-petition activity and trends in 2021.
E-petitions at a glance 2021
E-petitions that were rejected
E-petitions that do not meet the required standards are rejected, and the e-petitioner is advised of the reason for rejection. The most common reason for rejecting an e-petition in 2021 was that a new e-petition was duplication of an existing one (8 petitions), which was substantially less than in 2020 where the number of duplicates was thought to reflect the impact of Covid-19 (27 petitions). Other reasons for rejection in 2021 were petitions which had no specific action (7), were irrelevant (4) or were libellous (3).
|1||Change of law to protect all vulnerable road users – Introduce Freddie’s law||3,737|
|2||Support a proposal to improve the unused recreational sporting area at FB Fields||3,473|
|3||Have a radiotherapy unit in the new hospital||3,274|
|4||Open the pubs before Easter weekend||2,800|
|5||Stop the double taxation of the Jersey pension||2,743|
|6||Do not roll out Covid-19 vaccine passports in Jersey||2,524|
|7||Save the parking spaces in front of Le Marquand Brothers Ltd (Pets Paradise)||2,109|
|8||Give us BACK our FREEDOMS. It is time to live with Covid-19 – time to MOVE ON||1,699|
|9||Repeal the Social Security (Overlapping of Benefits) (Jersey) Order 1975||1,699|
|10||Offer one-off grants for the worst affected industries due to forced closures||1,608|
|11||Reinstate Samares Ward to its full complement of 28 beds and previous service||1,561|
|12||Teachers should be included in the first wave of the Covid-19 Vaccine Programme||1,319|
|13||Change the sex offenders register to start the day of release from prison||1,162|
|14||Stop work and spending at Overdale hospital until Planning consent received||1,097|
|15||Close schools as they are a breeding ground for Covid||1,004|
|16||Stop urban sprawl – Save St. Helier fields from the Island Plan||1,004|
Note: the above list is based on petitions data downloaded on Open Petitions April 2022, and signature counts for any petitions still open at the time of this briefing paper's publication may have increased. For a snapshot of the current "top ten" petitions, including those opened since the start of 2022, see that page.
Once an e-petition has gathered 1,000 signatures it triggers the requirement of a response from the Council of Ministers/the relevant Minister. The first ever ministerial response to an e-petition was issued on 7th September 2018 by the Minister for Social Security in relation to an e-petition asking the Government to introduce a scheme for people who contract mesothelioma. Minsters have 28 days (actual days not working days) to provide their response to the States Greffe for publication. Although there is no procedural consequence if the response is late, it is not unknown for the e-petitioner to highlight the delay in the media.
Most petitioned Minister in 2021
Ministers who were called on to respond to e-petitions during 2021 are shown in the diagram above.
Excluding the Ministers for External Relations and Financial Services, and International Development, who received no e-petitions during the year, the only Ministers that did not receive an e-petition that collected 1,000 or more signatures were the Ministers for Home Affairs, and Housing and Communities.
E-petition topic trends in 2021
Over the course of the year, Islanders were motivated to create e-petitions on a variety of topics or issues, but issues relating to the Covid-19 pandemic no longer dominated to the extent which they did in 2020.
An overview of the top e-petition topics is shown in the table below –
|Child abuse memorial||3||-|
The comparison is unclear due to the difference in number of e-petitions for each of the years in question. It is, therefore, of greater clarity to look at the topics by percentage of the total number of requests submitted –
E-petitions and States Members' Propositions
There are parallels between issues that the public raised in creating e-petitions and some of the Propositions that Members have brought independently to the Assembly for debate
Examples of occasions where Members' propositions echoed petition topics include:
There were also e-petitions during the year that overlapped with the Bridging Island Plan: Stop urban sprawl - Save St Helier fields from the Island Plan and Protect the 18 Green Field sites identified in the Island Plan from development. Both received a very similar response, urging petitioners to make their representations in relation to the BIP as part of the formal consultation process.
This paper builds upon and provides an update to, the Briefing Paper issued by the Members' Resources Team in 2021, entitled E-petitions in 2020. This paper provides greater detail about the e-petitions process. Further reading on this matter is also available at the following links –