Labour councillors are revolutionising how citizens can influence the decisions that matter to communities, committing the council to a modern way of engaging, empowering and enabling Sheffielders to shape their local areas.
In May 2021 the council will transform its approach to the planning and delivery of services, with greater focus, responsiveness, and accountability to the different needs of communities across the city.
To enable this, the council will create seven new Local Area Committees covering every part of Sheffield, and plan to shift power and influence for important local decisions to those Committees over the coming 12 to 18 months.
The Council report was agreed at a Special Council Meeting on Thursday 18th March – and a Labour amendment was also accepted as part of this – which proposes more immediate changes, and even greater investment and community empowerment within the new committees.
These plans include:
- Doubling Ward Pots
- Greater involvement for Voluntary, Community and Faith organisations in decision making
- Increasing the Community Infrastructure Levy (CIL) allocation available to local areas to 20% – it is currently 15%,
- Providing an additional £100k to each Local Area Committee to be spent, in line with the community plan, on helping with the localised re-building post-Covid
- Providing an extra £100K to each Local Area Committee to tackle fly tipping & graffiti
- For local parks, parking problems, community safety, each Local Area Committee will have a dedicated officer
- For Youth Services, each area will be involved in shaping and influencing how services operate to meet the needs of young people, delivering general targeted youth work, and positive activities and experiences.
- All local communities will be fully consulted on these proposals as they develop further
Council Leader Bob Johnson made the following statement regarding the new Local Area Committees and Labour’s amendment to the plans:
“This is a huge step in empowering our communities, providing a platform to deliver on the changes people want to see within their local areas.
“The full details of the Local Area Committees will be developed over the next twelve to eighteen months, but we wanted to ensure that residents can see immediately that we mean business.
“This is why we proposed doubling the ward pots available to local councillors to spend on local projects, regardless of which political party has the majority there, as well as extra money for each area to tackle graffiti and fly tipping.
“We also want council workers to be closer to the action and the communities they serve– and just one example of this is that each area will now have their own dedicated named officer, for numerous different issues – whether it be community safety, parks, or housing.
“These are just some of the initial changes Labour wishes to see and plans will be developed over the coming months.
“I can also announce that as these plans are developed further we are committed to undertaking local consultation exercises in line with the ‘gunning principles’ -to ensure that all local citizens are able to have a voice in the development of the committees and the new way of working they represent.
“This is about ensuing work not from top-down structures but from the bottom-up.
“I fully believe that the future of the council should be less people in town hall and centralised buildings, and much more people within the communities we serve”
The Gunning Principles are a set of rules for public consultation:
Gunning One: That consultation must be at a time when proposals are still at a formative stage;
Gunning Two: That the proposer must give sufficient reasons for any proposal to permit of intelligent consideration and response;
Gunning Three: That adequate time is given for consideration and response; and
Gunning Four: That the product of consultation is conscientiously taken into account when finalising the decision