Letter: The people of Sheffield deserve better
This letter sent to the Star was written by Shaun Ashcroft, Southgrove Road, Sheffield, S10
Following on from the article “I want a big conversation” in the Star last Saturday I’m reminded that we’ve all heard press statements saying that the council want to engage more with the people of Sheffield before. There are many in Sheffield who would absolutely love, and are still waiting, for this to happen. It’s Our City! know this from the many, literally 1000’s, of one-to-one conversations that have been had while out collecting signatures. Many are cynical and untrusting about what Council ‘consultation’ means in practice.
If the People’s Petition is validated the council will have precious little time to design a new, committee based, system of governance. But they must do this before the referendum so that the electorate know what they are voting for. Other councils have done their people proud with in-depth research, planning and engagement. Heart-warmingly with substantial success. It is not unusual for the process to take well over a year. Sheffield Council really do need to start working on this because they have not left themselves any luxury of time to do justice to such an important process. They now urgently need to seek the help and advice of experts who specialise in this field - such as the Centre for Public Scrutiny (CfPS). I trust that they are not going to try to do too little too late again. The people of Sheffield deserve better.
I really do hope that they are serious about better engagement with the public and other stakeholders this time. I genuinely hope so, but I can also see that there is not even a mention yet of how success will be measured nor what their objectives are to be. It is a truism that good speakers are also excellent listeners and the people of Sheffield are asking for, and deserve, better going forward.