It's Our City becomes biggest petition for a change of governance ever

Campaigners are confident they will trigger a referendum on how the city is run, after their petition became the biggest ever of its kind.

Thursday, 4th July 2019, 3:38 pm
Updated Thursday, 4th July 2019, 4:44 pm
Sheffield community group It's Our City ( pictured Fran Grace, Sue Kondakor, Andrew Kondakor, Ruth Hubbard and Shelley Cockayne) are joined by Lord Mayor Magid Magid at the launch of their petition to force a referendum on how decisions are made by the council. Picture Scott Merrylees

It’s Our City has gathered nearly 20,092 signatures on their petition, five per cent of the electorate, calling for a referendum which could see Sheffield City Council turned into a committee system.

It was debated in a full council meeting in which councillors across parties shared their views.

Fran Grace, of It’s Our City, presented the petition at the meeting and said “this really matters to people in Sheffield.”

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Some raised positives and negatives from their previous experience with committee systems. Coun Peter Price said: “It’s no more or less democratic, it’s just a different system. The decisions won’t change.”

Some Labour councillors argued there was no problem in how decisions were being made and that the system was already sufficiently democratic.

However most agreed the public should have as much say as possible in decision making and that the public and councillors would need to be clearer on what kind of committee system they wanted before changes were made.

If the campaign group reach the target number of signatures a referendum will have to be held.

It would cost the council around £600,000 to hold a referendum.

Councillors voted to wait until a report based on cross-party consultation and scrutiny was produced in six months time, rather than hold an emergency meeting before a referendum was triggered.