Residents reveal what they really think of Sheffield Council as city prepares for referendum

The way Sheffield Council is run will come under scrutiny over the next few weeks.

Friday, 6th December 2019, 10:09 am

Residents are being asked to share their views on how the council operates in special meetings taking place this month and next month.

One such meeting lasted 10 hours.

Many people say they feel ignored, consultations are worthless and they have no influence over decisions taken in their community.

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Sheffield residents are set to have their say with the It's Our City referendum next year

Most recently, Oughtibridge residents said a new traffic system will be set up against their wishes while the council was forced to apologise for saying Jordanthorpe housing office would close before consultation had even started.

Members of the public have given their views online in a 44-page document and there has been some harsh criticism, with some comments redacted by the council.

One person dubbed the council as: “Secretive, cliquish, disrespectful, alarming, shortsighted, ill informed and defensive.”

Another person alleged: “I've sat and watched certain cabinet councillors do their Amazon shopping while 'taking part' in public meetings. They don't care as they know decisions have already been made.”

When asked what they liked about the current system, many people replied ‘nothing’. One person said: “At least it's not a dictatorship, but that's faint praise at best.”

There has even been complaints about the questionnaire itself, with one person saying: “This questionnaire is how not to gather information to help with making a decision. It excludes those who are not computer literate, it excludes those who want a voice but do not know how to express it in writing. It is elitist and the questions asked are quite general - how on earth are you going to collate these answers?”

Sheffield Chamber, Voluntary Action Sheffield, heritage groups and Sheffield Futures are among some of the organisations speaking at the scrutiny meetings.

The consultation and meetings come ahead of a referendum next May on whether the council should switch to a committee system or stick with its current Cabinet.

It’s Our City campaigners calling for a committee system collected a 26,000 name petition which triggered the referendum.