PEOPLE in Monmouthshire will soon be able to submit online petitions to the county council in a bid to increase public participation in local government.

The change is one of several which has been included in an updated constitution set to be considered by Monmouthshire councillors next week.

Previously, the council has accepted paper petitions which can be presented to the chairman at full meetings by a ward councillor on behalf of the person organising the petition.

However a new act introduced by the Welsh Government enables councils to introduce e-petitions, alongside paper petitions.

Under the scheme in Monmouthshire, the petition will need to include a statement setting out what action the lead petitioner would like the council to take.

A minimum of 25 signatures will be required for the council to take action.

The petition will initially be considered by councillors on a scrutiny committee, where it will be decided what further action to take.

This could include the petition going before a full council meeting for debate, or it could be referred to a cabinet member, working group or council officer for further action.

The online petitions will be created on Monmouthshire council’s website, where the number of signatories can be viewed.

“E-petitions will make the submission of a petition to the council quicker and easier whilst allowing the petition organiser to track its progress,” an updated version of the council’s constitution says.

Only people or organisations that live, work or study within Monmouthshire can create a petition, and the issue must relate to an issue which the council can address.

Other changes to the constitution include limitations to councillors amending motions put before the council.

The move follows feedback from councillors that the ability to “to completely change the wording of a motion” with an amendment was ‘disproportionate’.

The new constitution says amendments to motions must not “negate or completely rewrite the motion”.

Councillors will also be allowed to join meetings remotely, but they must be able to speak to and be heard by each other and to see and be seen by each other.

A delegated power, allowing the chief officer for social care and health to secure accommodation for children in care, including the ability to purchase property or land, has also been included following a decision by councillors in January.