Rejected! E-Petition is refused but none of the reasons match up

hm_govThe e-petition calling for the office of the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner to be replaced has been rejected by the government website.

According to the email I received this morning, “E-petitions cannot be used to request action on issues that are outside the responsibility of the government. This includes:

“Party political material;

“Commercial endorsements including the promotion of any product, service or publication;

“Issues that are dealt with by devolved bodies, eg The Scottish Parliament;

“Correspondence on personal issues.”

It adds: “E-petitions cannot be used for freedom of information requests.”

Help me out here, folks. I can’t see how this matter can be outside the responsibility of the government, since it is the House of Commons that oversees the office and appoints commissioners. There’s no party political material. There are no commercial endorsements. Clearly it’s not something handled by a devolved body or personal correspondence, nor does it make an FOI request.

There is no attempt to explain the matter further and no email address through which to discuss the matter. All I can imagine is that they interpreted the link to this blogsite as a commercial endorsement. Perhaps if I remove it?

I would appreciate input, especially from anyone with experience of the government e-petitions site.

10 thoughts on “Rejected! E-Petition is refused but none of the reasons match up

  1. MaryMary

    Perhaps the petition was too broad – it is a bit of a leap from having problems getting an answer from someone, to asking for them and all their staff to be sacked, which is basically what you were doing…!

    Maybe try a more specific petition, to ask that the Commissioner explain why your worries are unjustified: in particular to confirm that Osborne’s expenses for these properties have been checked out by the Commissioner’s Office and/or other appropriate body (and if so, who, and what their findings were), and to explain specifically why the two other properties within the title were considered to fall within a legitimate expenses claim (if indeed they were).

    I know that’s a bit fuddy-duddy, and that you’ve asked these questions already by email, but you don’t appear to have had an answer which clarifies the situation to your satisfaction, so maybe the petition should be, at this stage, just a bigger request for the same answers..?

    1. Mike Sivier

      I think your suggestion would fall under “correspondence”. E-petitions have to be pretty broad, I think, and I do reckon there are good reasons for getting rid of an organisation that can’t or won’t do its job properly.
      There have been suggestions that another commissioner, Elizabeth Filkin, was forced out by high-profile MPs because they did not not like her investigating them, although her job required it.
      Sir Philip Mawer avoided investigating high-level MPs such as cabinet ministers.
      John Lyon, who retired from the post at the end of last year, was described by Private Eye as “feeble” and an “establishment stooge”.

  2. chibipaul

    Can some one, in the light of the explanations given, explain what epetitions are for please?
    Are they merely to project a semblance of democracy in action?

  3. Martin Kroupa

    I can see the response you received as overuse of discretion in someone’s favour, cunningly disguised in legislation – institutional discrimination. It should have primarily been the Commissioner for Standards’ job to investigate; and now the tensions to protect privileged bodies to keep government decor nice & neat – as if nothing had happened.

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