The referendum question Sheffielders will be asked to vote on will not be drawn up until a few weeks beforehand

Sheffielders will be asked to vote on a referendum next May – but the question will not be drawn up until a few weeks before.

Thursday, 19th December 2019, 4:00 pm
Updated Friday, 20th December 2019, 12:57 pm

The council is set to ask the city’s residents if they want to stick with the current Cabinet and Leader model or switch to a committee system.

The referendum, which will take place on the same day as the local elections, was prompted by It’s Our City campaigners. They gathered more than 26,000 names on a petition, which then by law, triggered a referendum.

A special scrutiny board has spent a month looking at the principles of how the council should govern in future. Its report will go before full council in January and the referendum question will be decided in March.

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Deputy Council Leader Terry Fox told the scrutiny meeting: “We have had a series of Big Conversations where we have been talking to communities, unfortunately these were delayed due to the general election, but we are going to feed in the findings of the ones we have had so far.

“All the proposals will be set at February Cabinet and March 12 is when we set the question for the referendum. We will then have 56 days to the referendum.

“We hope to get to a position where we can get two proposals for the referendum because I have always said the status quo has never been an option.”

There are further Big Conversation events planned in the New Year at Fox Valley and St James retail park plus community events.

Ruth Hubbard, one of the lead campaigners with It’s Our City, was unimpressed by the report.

“They have agreed an insipid report, that aspires to continue to exclude communities from decision-making

“The council does not believe in any participatory democracy. All evidence argued decision-making must be devolved to communities but the council is currently suggesting the opposite, reiterating communities lack of power. We need a modern committee system with power to communities.”

Scrutiny will ask full council to endorse the principles at its January meeting. The report can be read here.