1,000 back call for changes to how Sheffield Council makes decision

Fran Grace, Sue Kondakor, Andrew Kondakor, Ruth Hubbard and Shelley Cockayne are joined by Lord Mayor Magid Magid at the launch of their petition. Picture: Scott Merrylees
Fran Grace, Sue Kondakor, Andrew Kondakor, Ruth Hubbard and Shelley Cockayne are joined by Lord Mayor Magid Magid at the launch of their petition. Picture: Scott Merrylees

More than 1,000 people have already a signed a petition calling for a change in the way decisions are made at Sheffield Town Hall just days after it launched.

Community group It's Our City launched the Sheffield People’s Petition on Saturday, with the intention of changing the way Sheffield Council makes decisions.

The group is hoping to take action under the Localism Act 2011 to prompt a change from the council’s current ‘strong leader and Cabinet model’ to one where decisions would be taken more by committees, involving more councillors in key decisions.

Ruth Hubbard, co-chairman of It’s Our City, said: “I think we are well over the 1,000 mark in terms of signatures. We know it’s early days and this is a marathon not a sprint but it’s gone well so far.

“We are quite relaxed that it’s going to happen and we’re quite pleased with the number we’ve had so far.”

The legislation requires a petition signed by five per cent of those on the Sheffield Council electoral roll to trigger a referendum – which the group said they’d been told was a total of 20,956.

Ms Hubbard said: “We want to use the opportunity to talk to people. We don't just want people signing the petition for the sake of it, we want to talk to people so they understand the issues.”

The group also said it had been told that if they reach the required number of signatures and submit the petition to the council by January 2, a referendum would be held on the same day as the 2019 local elections.

Ms Hubbard said: “A referendum costs money and we are aiming to present the petition by January 2 so it can be on the same day as the election.

“We want to use this period between now and then to really generate conversation in communities about systems that could work better.

“Ones that would bring transparency, openness and meaningful roles for every councillor that we elect. We want people to be properly represented by people they elect.”

Fylde Borough Council saw a similar change in governance in 2015 following a referendum 12 months previous and West Dorset District Council also made changes following a vote last year.

To sign the petition or find out more, visit www.ipetitions.com/petition/sheffield-peoples-petition.