Group launches people's movement to 'change political culture of Sheffield'
Non- party political community group It's Our City today launched the Sheffield People's Petition, with the intention of changing the way Sheffield Council takes decisions.
They say the current 'strong leader' or cabinet model of council decision making is undemocratic, and means most people's councillors are shut out of the process.
They want to replace it with a model whereby decisions would be taken more by committees, involving more councillors in key decisions and producing better government as a result.
The petition was launched on Saturday at 3pm from the Lord Mayor’s Parlour at the Town Hall in Sheffield, which had been made available to them by current Lord Mayor, Magid Magid.
Petition organiser, Dr Ruth Hubbard, said: "The petition is a start to the process of transforming the political culture of Sheffield. We want to see the relationship between the Council and residents in Sheffield transformed.
"By changing from the ‘strong leader’ and Cabinet system and embracing a newly designed Committee system that reflects the expectations and vision for our city that our communities have been striving for - a Committee system is simply a better fit for the city.
"People are mobilising because the Council has not been listening to residents across the city. The tribalism of party politics, a lack of joined up thinking, bad decisions spiralling out of control, concerns over financial decisions which seem to be out of our hands when they affect our communities, could all be better managed under a revised committee system.”
It’s Our City say the current ‘strong leader’ or cabinet model - where many key decisions are taken by just 10 councillors - was imposed on the city in 2005 by the then government.
They claim a committee system would produce greater openness and transparency - and secure a meaningful role for every elected member.
This is the first time that residents in a major city have taken action for a change of governance arrangements, under powers granted to communities by the Localism Act 2011.
In order to secure a city-wide referendum on the change, they need the support of five per cent of the population of the city - or 20,956 signatures.
To sign the petition or find out more, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/sheffield-peoples-petition.