More than 80 percent of Sheffield election candidates support change to committee system

Most of the candidates standing in the local elections want Sheffield Council to change back to a committee system, a campaign group said.

Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 10:53 am
Updated Tuesday, 20th April 2021, 11:05 am
Campaigners fought successfully for a referendum to take place

A petition by It’s Our City campaigners successfully triggered a governance referendum that will take place alongside the local elections on May 6.

The question that will be asked is: How would you like Sheffield City Council to be run?

By a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by a vote of the other elected councillors. This is how the council is run now.

Or

By one or more committees made up of elected councillors. This would be a change from how the council is run now.

It’s Our City campaigners contacted every candidate running to be a ward councillor in the upcoing elections and asked for a yes or no answer to whether they are supporting a change from the current model to a committee system.

The group said of more than 140 candidates, around 82 percent said they did support a switch to a committee system. This was across the political spectrum, including Labour, Green and Liberal Democrat candidates.

In a statement, the group, which believes a change would make the council more democratic, said it was delighted.

It added: “We should not be complacent about change. This is no longer down to our council (nor election candidates) to decide. It is citizens and communities in Sheffield who have won the right to decide – in the face of council intransigence – after the biggest ever legally binding petition of its kind. Whatever we decide must be put in place, for a minimum of ten years.”

But not everyone is in agreement. Those opposed to switching do not believe it will bring the benefits pro-change campaigners say it will.

One opposer, Henri Murison, director of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership, said it would relegate Sheffield to the provincial backwaters and “cripple Sheffield politically and economically”.