Good work life balance important for Sheffield councillors so the role can attract variety of people, says report

Sheffield councillors should be able to have a work life balance so the role can attract people from all backgrounds, says a report.

Friday, 20th December 2019, 11:45 am
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 5:36 pm

A referendum will be held next May when voters will be asked whether they want to stick with the current Cabinet and Leader model or switch to a committee system.

Councillors have spent a month looking at the options and say it’s important people can balance the role with a career or home life.

The overview and scrutiny board says in a report: “Our structure needs to reflect the practical demands on councillors’ time.

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A referendum will be held next May when voters will be asked whether they want to stick with the current Cabinet and Leader model or switch to a committee system.

“It needs to find a balance between time spent in formal decision making meetings in the Town Hall against working with and in communities.

“Time demands shouldn’t prohibit people with working or caring commitments from being a councillor.”

The board says when there used to be committees, before 2000, councillors complained they spent too much time in the Town Hall and not enough in their communities.

The report adds: “Once elected, councillors carry out a wide range of roles on behalf of their communities and the city.

“We need to ensure that we support members with the skills and competencies they need to fulfil a wide range of roles.

“We recognise the majority party has a mandate to govern but we need to ensure that our structures and processes enable all councillors to be involved and have influence.”

In a Leader and Cabinet model, decisions can be delegated to Cabinet, to individual cabinet members or officers. Under a committee system, decisions can only be delegated to committees or officers.

The board said it wanted to keep councillors at the heart of decision making and have less delegation to officers.

“Our structure should be designed in a way that creates channels for all 84 councillors to be involved in and influence. We are a member-led authority, where accountability lies with elected councillors.”

The council has published a set of principles ahead of the referendum and the full report can be read here.