∙ Sheffield People's Petition
“We, the undersigned, being local government electors for the area of Sheffield City Council, to whom this petition is addressed, seek a referendum on whether the council should be run in a different way by one or more committees made up of elected councillors.”
NOTE: The total target for the petition is 20,956. We are collecting signatures in this online petition and on paper petition sheets at locations all over Sheffield. Currently, we are aiming to collect 15,000 signatures online, and the remainder via our paper petitions.
This is a one-off opportunity for all voters in Sheffield to have a say about the way our Council works, that cannot be ignored!
At the moment, only the 10 councillors in the Council cabinet (the leader plus 9 councillors selected by the leader) have the power to make nearly all Council decisions for the whole of Sheffield.
The 74 remaining councillors (from all parties), who we vote in as councillors in local wards, have little or no say in decision-making. They do not have a voice or meaningful role under the current system – known as the ‘Strong Leader Model”. They cannot question decisions made at cabinet meetings, and sometimes they cannot even get information about issues affecting their local communities.
We all have a vote in local elections, but this does not mean our local councillor has a voice to represent us!
Many voters are shocked to learn about how decisions are taken within our Council. Many of our elected councillors (of all parties) are unhappy at being unable to put forward their constituents’ views, and many of us are aware of problems in our local areas which the Council has failed to deal with properly. A lot of people realise that top down decision-making, and power in the hands of only a few of our elected councillors, simply does not fit, or work for, Sheffield and all its diverse communities.
It doesn’t have to be this way! This petition is a one-off opportunity to change this situation, and has legal force to help fix local democracy in our city!
Other councils have already stopped using the undemocratic system of decision-making currently used by Sheffield council, and have changed to use a modern committee system. In a modern committee system all the councillors that people vote in, do have a voice and meaningful role. Councillors focus on working together, and with their communities and outside experts, to make better, informed decisions. Cities that have made this change work much better for their people and communities, and by everyone working together are more resilient against the effects of austerity.
So far, Sheffield Council has decided not to change, and wants to keep power and decision-making in the hands of the few. But the Localism Act (2011) gives local communities the legal right to change the way that councils operate.
To force change, we need to present a petition to the Council signed by at least 5% of the local electorate in Sheffield (that’s 20,956 names in total) within a year (by August 2019). Then, the Council, by law, must hold a referendum giving all voters in Sheffield the option of changing to a modern committee system or keeping the current undemocratic system.
This legislation has already been used in a number of other places around the UK. In some cases, the petition led to a referendum where the public voted to set up a committee system. In other cases the starting of a petition led their Council to decide to move to a committee system voluntarily, without the need for a referendum.
It‘s Our City! (who are coordinating the petition) is a grassroots community group working to improve local democracy in Sheffield, and is non-party political.
By signing this petition, you are giving your support to a community-led campaign for a committee system of decision-making in Sheffield Council. A system which will ensure:
- ALL our elected representatives can play a meaningful role in making decisions in our city.
- Decision-making is more open and transparent so we can see more of what is going on in our name.
- Improved partnership and collaborative working - not only within the Council, but with community groups and specialist organisations, so we can be sure that the best is being done for our city at all times.
Are you happy with the way Sheffield City Council is being run - or would you prefer it to be run differently? If you think that a change to a modern committee system would benefit our city, then please sign this petition and allow ALL Sheffield voters to have their say.
People and communities can work together and do have the power to make a real difference. After all, democracy should be about all of us - not just 10 people in the Town Hall!
PLEASE ENTER YOUR FULL NAME INTO THE 'NAME' FIELD!
VALID SIGNATURES: Signatures on this petition will only be valid if they are from registered voters for the Sheffield City Council authority area.
The name and address used when signing must match those recorded in the electoral register.
If you are not registered to vote you can register here, and then you can sign the petition!
SIGNING USING FACEBOOK OR TWITTER: If your Facebook or Twitter name is not the name on the electoral register, please sign the petition using your name and email address instead.
ADDRESSEE: This petition is addressed to Sheffield City Council.
PETITION ORGANISER: Anne Barr, It's Our City, 42 Fountside, Sheffield, S7 1SN
DATA PROTECTION: Your data will be processed under the GDPR. The primary data controller is It's Our City, and your details will only be used for the purpose of this petition. After signing, you will be contacted by the iPetitions site and It's Our City. In accordance with the petition legislation, Sheffield City Council will become the data controller when the petition is submitted to them, and your name and address may be published.
Banner photo: Adam lebaigue