May elections

You must register to vote in the upcoming May elections before Wednesday 17 April. If you cannot attend the elections, you can apply for a postal vote before 5pm on Wednesday 17 April. Find all the key dates on our election news page.



Sending in a petition is an important way to raise an issue you want us to act on.

Anyone who lives, works or studies in Harlow can raise or sign a petition.

To be accepted, your petition needs to:

  • have at least 50 signatories (unless a smaller number is significant for the subject of the petition)
  • include a clear statement covering the subject of the petition
  • explain what action the petitioners want the council to take (or stop taking)
  • include the contact details of the petition organiser
  • include the name, address and signature of any person supporting the petition (paper petitions only)

Your petition cannot:

  • address the same topic another petition has covered within the last 6 months
  • be vexatious, abusive or inappropriate

Petitions can be completed online (e-petitions) or on paper.

If you want to submit a petition on a planning issue, these follow a different process. You’ll need to first submit this petition to our Planning team as a formal representation. Contact our Planning team for more information on planning petitions


E-petitions need to:

  • be submitted on our e-petition platform
  • include a closing date
  • identify a lead petitioner

Once you have submitted an e-petition we will check it and publish on our website within 5 working days.

If an e-petition cannot be accepted we will give an explanation to the lead petitioner. They will then have 14 days to change and re-submit it.

To sign an e-petition, you need to provide your:

  • name
  • postcode
  • e-mail address

You will need to verify your email address using a link we send you. Once you have done this, your signature will be added to the petition.

You will be able to see that your name has been added to the petition, but your contact details will not be visible.

When an e-petition closes it will be automatically submitted to our Corporate and Governance Support team. They will acknowledge the petition within 14 days.

Paper petitions

Paper petitions can be submitted to the Chief Executive:

  • in person at the Civic Centre
  • by post

We will acknowledge the petition within 14 days.

Present a petition

Once your petition has been accepted, we will submit it at a council meeting. Petitions with:

  • more than 650 signatories (or which cover subject matters reserved for Full Council) will be debated by Full Council
  • at least 50 signatories, but fewer than 650, will be considered by Cabinet or the appropriate Committee
  • at least 325 signatories asking for a senior officer to give evidence at a public meeting will be heard by the Scrutiny Committee

At the meeting the lead petitioner can present the petition with a speech (3 minutes maximum).

Council, Cabinet or Committee will decide how to respond to the petition. This will either be:

  • to take the action the petition requests
  • not to take the action the petition requests for the reasons put forward in the debate
  • to commission further work to be carried out

We will write to the lead petitioner with the decision taken by the Council, Cabinet or Committee.

If the petition was debated at Full Council, the lead petitioner can request the Scrutiny Committee to review our response within 28 days of the decision. 

Contact information

Corporate and Governance Support Manager
Harlow Council
Civic Centre
Water Gardens
College Square
Harlow CM20 1WG