£1.3 million approved for Sheffield Council’s committee system transition

Sheffield Council’s leaders approved a £1.3 million budget to support its transition to a committee system.

Friday, 23rd July 2021, 12:08 pm

Voters unanimously decided to change the way the council makes decisions from a strong leader and cabinet model to a modern committee system in a governance referendum earlier this year.

Broadly, the new model will have a number of committees with areas of decision-making responsibilities such as transport and development. Each committee will be made up of councillors of all parties, with the number of seats proportionate to the political make-up of the council.

All decisions will have to be considered at a meeting of a committee and not by individual councillors.

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Town Hall.

The council does not have to change to a committee system until next May but councillors said they saw a shake up in leadership as an opportunity to push ahead.

A programme for this was approved in a co-operative executive meeting this week.

In the meeting, councillor Terry Fox leader of the council, said: “We are not hanging about in this council, we are going through change at some speed.”

The programme is divided into two projects: engagement, and governance and support model.

Engagement involves procuring an external organisation to help plan working with citizens, an external communications campaign, an internal engagement plan and analysing findings from this work.

The governance and support model includes recruiting a temporary assistant director for governance, taking feedback from engagement, designing a new committee system, determining any financial and resourcing implications and delivering training for councillors and officers regarding new roles and processes.

Specialist external input is estimated to cost £30,000, communications and consultation is expected to cost £300,000 and delivery of the programme of change is expected to cost £969,000.

A programme board will manage the running of the transition, including budget, resources and ensuring stakeholders are informed.

This will then report to the governance committee which will meet monthly and be chaired by councillor Julie Grocutt, deputy leader of the council, with councillor Penny Baker as vice-chair. This committee will report to full council.

The Local Government Association also agreed to provide some training and development, consultancy, co-fund a package of support as well as member and officer development from the Centre for Governance and Scrutiny.