Sheffield People’s Referendum

6th May 2021

Sheffield voters have won themselves the legally-binding power to make Sheffield Council more democratic and make Sheffield a better place!

Currently, in Sheffield Council the power to make most decisions is in the hands of just 10 out of 84 councillors from one party. The other 74 councillors have very little power to actually do the job voters think they are electing them to do. People all across Sheffield think this system is undemocratic, and leads to weak decision-making, poor working relationships with voluntary organisations and a lack of cross-party cooperation, all of which is holding Sheffield back.

It’s Our City!, a non-party-political community group, organised a legally-binding petition to Sheffield Council (under the laws in the Localism Act of 2011). Over 26,000 Sheffield voters signed, forcing a referendum about changing how the Council makes decisions – a change to a Modern Committee system.

People from all across Sheffield want the Council to change to a new Modern Committee system, so that all 84 councillors actually have the power to do the job voters believe they are electing them to do.

A Modern Committee system is: More open, More representative, More Cooperative and More Accountable.

Increasingly, other councils across the country are choosing this new system because it works better for their city. Many similar campaigners across the country have been asking It’s Our City! for advice. Sheffield is leading the way for others to follow!

A Vote for Change at the referendum is supported by citizens form all across Sheffield and by members and councillors of all the political parties. They increasingly feel that if all our councillors actually have the power to do their jobs and work together in a more cooperative atmosphere, our Council can work better for everyone, make better decisions and make Sheffield a better place to live.

We are now running our campaign to tell as many Sheffield folk as possible about the referendum so they can make a well-informed choice. For more info about the referendum and the Modern Committee system, take a look at our Frequently Asked Questions page.

You can also join our Facebook group and take part in our campaign for a more democratic Council. Please help by spreading the news that Sheffield People’s Referendum is happening on May 6th.

Look out for the “SheffRef21” tag on social media.

Join together with other citizens and use your power to Vote for Change!

Why we are calling for a change

So that all 84 councillors, from all parties, will have real power to represent their areas, not just 10.  So that decisions can have input from more councillors, citizens, experts and communities, and be more open and transparent.  Because a committee-based system is more flexible to cope with the issues the city might face in the future. 

Because the concentration of power in the hands of just 10 councillors has led to poor and slow decision-making that doesn’t make sense. So that councillors have to work together, focusing on what’s important for Sheffield, not wasteful, party-political tribalism. 

To get rid of the current inefficient “scrutiny” process that is not needed in more modern systems.To stop the waste of time and energy when communities often have to fight the council, only for it to change its original decision. 

Because Sheffield can change to this new, more democratic and efficient Modern Committee system, without increasing spending!

We need your help!

Our current mission is now to spread the word about the referendum and the choices on offer. If you want to help, please consider joining our group – you can sign up here.