A question of leadership

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THERE is sometimes merit in conducting consultation exercises if there is a real purpose and outcome in them.

But for them to be credible, the public needs to believe their views will be taken into consideration and will help shape the decision making.

Sheffield Council’s consultation letter asking residents for their views on service provision has to be questioned in terms of its effectiveness.

Out of 230,000 letters sent out, only 1,503 were returned. In itself the council may be happy with a response rate of around 1.5 per cent. But with a price tag of about £10 per response, was this really a cost-effective exercise?

But what is more disappointing is the childish reaction we have seen from the two political parties. On the one hand we have the Lib Dem leadership claiming the response represents a major embarrassment for Labour and on the other we have a Labour leader who chastises Shaffiq Mohammed for acting childishly and then herself taunts him childishly with her own response.

At a time when the council has to deliver £57 million in savings, we are entitled to see better leadership from both parties.

Vocational skills needed by pupils

WE repeatedly hear from business leaders that there is a shortage of skills in the jobs market of our region which is holding back recovery. That is why we question the wisdom of the Government’s decision to downgrade vocational qualifications in schools.

They plan to reduce the number of such qualifications schools need towards their GCSE performance in league tables, suggesting a shift to more academic courses.

It is claimed that the present system does not help pupils. On the contrary, we believe that well-organised vocational qualifications which mirror the needs of business in a school’s region, is exactly what students should be encouraged to seek.

Biggest and best

ON your marks... get set for some serious fundraising. Entries are now open for Sheffield’s Race For Life, the most emotionally-charged sponsored run in the city’s sports-packed calendar. The Cancer Research UK race has traditionally become a moving experience for thousands of women to compete in memory of someone who is suffering from cancer or who has died of the disease. And we are sure this year’s event will be no exception, so why not enter and let us make this the biggest and best Race For Life ever.