Your petition may ask for a senior council officer to give evidence at a public meeting about something for which the officer is responsible as part of their job. For example, your petition may ask a senior council officer to explain progress on an issue, or to explain the advice given to elected members to enable them to make a particular decision.
If your petition contains at least 500 signatures, the relevant senior officer will give evidence at a public meeting of the council’s overview and scrutiny committee*.
You should be aware that the overview and scrutiny committee may decide that it would be more appropriate for another officer to give evidence instead of any officer named in the petition – for instance if the named officer has changed jobs. The committee may also decide to call the relevant councillor to attend the meeting. Committee members will ask the questions at this meeting, but you will be able to suggest questions to the chair of the committee by contacting Community, Customer and Democratic Services up to 3 working days before the meeting. The purpose of calling a senior officer to account is not to address any employment issues. Any matters relating to employment, must be dealt with in accordance with Portsmouth City Council’s disciplinary policy and procedures.
The Petitions Scheme allows, subject to qualifying criteria, for certain officers to be 'called to account' at a public meeting of overview & scrutiny*.
The officers who can be 'called to account' are;
- Head of Paid Service – Chief Executive
- City Solicitor – Monitoring Officer and Strategic Director
- Section 151 Officer (Finance)
- Director of Regeneration – Strategic Director
- Director of Children & Adult Services – Strategic Director
- Director of Public Health (for Portsmouth)
It should be noted that it is the post holder that is being “called to account” and not the named individual employee.
* Portsmouth City Council's Overview and Scrutiny Committee (called Scrutiny Management Panel) is a committee of councillors who are responsible for scrutinising the work of the council – in other words, the overview and scrutiny committee has the power to hold the council’s decision makers to account.