THE FINAL WEEK – WHAT YOU CAN DO!
Please share the petition to get the last final signatures: www.ipetitions.com/petition/sheffield-peoples-petition
or share/retweet some of our previous social media posts:
Sheffield People’s Petition stands at over 25,000 signatures! It will be delivered to Sheffield Town Hall on Friday 23rd August at 2pm. Everyone is welcome to gather outside the Town Hall at 2pm as we pause before we make that important delivery. If you are able to be passing at that time, please do join us. The press will hopefully be there too, as we deliver the largest ever, legally-binding petition in the country for a change of local governance. PLEASE NOTE – We do actually have until Saturday to collect a few more signatures, but the main formal delivery is happening on Friday.
This is the culmination of a year’s networking with communities – we have had nearly 20,000 conversations across the city! Thank you for signing the petition, and perhaps for getting others to sign too, as we exercise our community rights under the Localism Act. Lots of communities around the country are watching (and supporting) us, as they too want to see more democratic governance. Sheffielders are naturally angry that the top-down, strong leader model, with power concentrated in the hands of too few, means that the vast majority of Sheffield voters have no real voice in their Council via their elected representatives.
Before Friday 23rd August!
Please help to get as many extra online signatures as possible before Friday. It would be terrible if we missed the target by just a few signatures (read below about how the Council is rejecting some signatures)! Tell your family, friends, neighbours etc and share on social media. A personal recommendation is the most powerful thing you can do. The short link is bit.ly/sheffpp
Or the full link www.ipetitions.com/petition/sheffield-peoples-petition
If you have any signatures on paper petition sheets, please deliver them before Friday to 25 St Ronan’s Rd, S7 1DX (NOTE: not the address on the petition sheet).
What Happens After?
After receiving the petition, the Council has one month to validate the signatures. The target number is 20,092 – that’s 5% of Sheffield voters. There are regulations that lay out what counts as a ‘valid signature’. That is why we have carried on collecting signatures as we know some will be rejected, for example, because some will turn out to be not registered. Unfortunately some signatures from registered voters will be rejected because the Council is being very strict in applying the regulations.
Until the Council validates the petition, we do not know the final number of signatures that they will decide are ‘valid’, but as we have over 25,000 signatures we are reasonably confident that we WILL have more than is required. This will then legally force the council to hold a city-wide vote on a change of governance. All Sheffield voters will be asked if we want our Council to change from the strong leader model to a system where decisions are made using a modernised committee system.
We believe that Sheffield will say YES, and that’s also what the independent experts believe, and has happened across the country in similar circumstances. This will finally ensure that everyone’s elected representatives in Sheffield have a meaningful voice to represent us!
The city-wide vote must take place at the next ordinary election date – so that is likely to be next May, with the local elections.
Of Course, Sheffield Council Could Have Made This Change Themselves…
You will remember that we triggered a full Council debate (on July 3rd) to draw attention to the widespread support of Sheffield communities for Sheffield People’s Petition. It was also an opportunity – once again – to publicly alert the Council that time was running out for them to positively choose to change themselves. Unfortunately the Council’s response was not positive and was seemingly out-of-touch with reality. The Council decided to review the situation and report back to full council in 6 months time, AFTER the date on which they knew we would submit the petition (which will legally force them to hold a city-wide vote)!
Our Council was forced by the government in the early 2000s to adopt the current strong leader system. Since 2011 councils have had the freedom to change their governance model from the strong leader system to a modernised committee model. Many councils have done so, all in the name of better local democracy. Some progressive councils have made the decision themselves, sometimes they have decided to make the change under pressure from a community petition just like ours…
So…Sheffield City Council has failed to make the change in time (unless something astonishing happens in the next few days!). Like so many communities and groups across the city we have found – perhaps unsurprisingly – that SCC is not listening. There is an irony here as the strong leader model is claimed by some to make councils more responsive and more accountable to their local communities. Like so many others, we have found the opposite to be the case. We do know that some in the inner circle of the Cabinet, and ruling group, support change, and that the change is widely supported by Sheffield communities (and by local Labour, Lib-Dem, Green Party and other Party groupings round the city). Unfortunately our council continues to not listen and, sadly, to isolate itself more and more from the city’s local communities.
Sheffield Council has had a full year to respond positively to the widespread call for positive change. They have not done so. Instead, and we think scandalously, they have chosen to spend our money on an unnecessary city-wide referendum next May.
Please share the petition to get the last final signatures:
or share/retweet some of our previous social media posts:www.itsourcity.dreamhosters.com/IOC-Posts.html