“I want a big conversation” says Council Leader to campaigners

The Leader of Sheffield Council has congratulated campaigners who raised a 26,000 name petition – but says she also wants to hear from the rest of the city.

Friday, 13th September 2019, 12:51 pm
Updated Friday, 13th September 2019, 2:42 pm
Ruth Hubbard and It’s Our City campaigners

It’s Our City campaigners look set to trigger a citywide referendum with the petition, which is calling for a committee system rather than a Cabinet.

The petition prompted six councillors to resign their Cabinet posts, including Deputy Leader Olivia Blake and Cabinet member Coun Lewis Dagnall.

Ruth Hubbard, co-chairman of It’s Our City, asked a meeting if the council was now in a better place to embrace the “democratic agenda” and commit to a “process of change” which will involve people.

Council Leader Julie Dore said the council’s Cabinet was already answerable to people.

“Under our constitution, decisions will be taken by officers and individual Cabinet members but even under a committee system, officers made more decisions than under a Cabinet.

“Cabinet is heard in public and I have done them in the community, on the radio and with The Star so we like to get out there as much as possible.

“I fully accept as a council we should always look for continuous improvement and engagement. I don’t believe we are in any different position than before. We are in a very strong position and at full council in July we committed to undertaking a review.

“I don’t personally object to a committee system but I want to look at what the issues are and what the barriers.”

Coun Dore said the council makes many more joint decisions than it did 30 years ago with the police, NHS and the private sector.

“We have a wide range of stakeholders who are affected by how we take decisions and I want to have that wider conversation with all of them.

“I applaud you in collecting signatures from five per cent of the electorate in this city and there are 95 per cent I want to engage with.

“It’s about the many not the few so I want conversation with 100 per cent of people. We want a big conversation about how we make decisions to improve people’s lives.”