Too many committees failing to make big changes, says housing chief

A senior councillor says there’s a failure to get to the root cause of problems in a Sheffield neighbourhood because there is too many committees.

By Lucy Ashton, Local Democracy Reporter
Monday, 01 July, 2019, 08:40
Coun Paul Wood

Coun Paul Wood, the new cabinet member for neighbourhoods and community safety, said there was funding to help Page Hall but the money wasn’t being spent effectively because there was no co-ordination.

Page Hall recently had a Selective Licensing scheme, where landlords are forced to bring properties up to a decent standard, but this has now ended and Coun Wood fears the neighbourhood will decline again.

“We have lots of different things looking after Page Hall with community cohesion funds and migration funds and housing funds but the one thing I have learned very quickly is there’s not a lot of joined up thinking.

“We have all these different committees all doing a bit of the same job, all doing a little bit somewhere in the city, but we are not making any major achievements anywhere. All we are doing is holding the lid on things and not improving things.

“Selective Licensing made a big improvement in Page Hall but it’s now a downward spiral again and it’s going to be in exactly the same position in a few months time so we need to have a much better joined up operation of what we do.

“We need to consolidate some of these committees – we have three different migration and cohesion committees all talking about the same thing.

“Should we say we have area a, b and c and these are priorities, where we have big problems with migration, big problems with cohesion?

“Should we all be working to sort these big problems out instead of splitting our resources over the entire city?

“Nothing gets sorted out permanently. We sort things out on a temporary basis, we bring the pressure down on a temporary basis but we don’t ever get to the root cause of the problems.”

Coun Wood said he had met Chief Supt Stuart Barton South Yorkshire Police’s district commander for Sheffield and added to wanted to set up a joint group to see what funding is available, what work was being done and who was bidding for cash.

He said: “It can’t be done overnight but it will make a massive difference in six months time. We need to have this ready for later in the year because, at the moment, we have all this crossover and no-one knows what anyone else is doing.

“There are too many committees, handling too small amounts of money, with no strategic thought of where we are going and trying to cover too large an area with too many organisations.

“If Page Hall is the seriousness which I believe it is, we need to put that resource into Page Hall to try and at least get some control on it but we won’t do that if we just are just playing around and having meetings here, there and everywhere.

“Some of these funds are so small you can make no impact with them individually but you can make a massive impact if you bring them all together and we all work in the same direction.

“I know there are problems in other areas but Page Hall is on the top of our list because we are actually on a slide again and if we don’t reverse that we are going to be exactly where we were before we started.”