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It's Our City Campaign - Have you Signed?

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23 minutes ago, jbagley said:

It seems that over 80% of the people they talk to on the streets (all over Sheffield) immediate;y sign the petition.

People do that. A TV programme a couple of years back organised two street petitions one calling for planning permission for a new wing to a fictitious children's hospital and another opposing planning permission for a new fictitious shelter for asylum seekers. 

 

Again, something like 80% of those approached readily signed the petition without any attempt to find out if these plans even existed.

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I've signed, good luck with the campaign, 👍

Edited by Jack_Russell

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As this political advert has come up again, I will reply with little editing.

This is a rehash of a previously failed attempt undermine the democratic process.

These opportunists have jumped on the bandwagon of their recent TV hit.

 

This is a political group based around green ideology directly involved in the Green Party and STAG.

 

Having failed in local council elections across the city elements of the environmentalists  now attempting to "persuade" the majority of Sheffield voters to accept their policies through the back door.

 

If other groups of activists tried to obtain control of our Council we would find it outrageous.

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3 hours ago, jbagley said:

The current system would be replaced by a "modernised committee system", where instead of decisions about an area of council service being taken by just 1 councillor in the cabinet, the decisions would be made by a committee of councillors (in other places that use this new system there are about 8 councillors on each committee). Doesn't cost more than current system but is more democratic and all councillors can give input (say if their area would bea ffected by the decision).

 

This change has been done in about 30 other places already. Most recent is Scarborough, where new Labour council leader announced it (without needing a petition) recently

https://scarborough.public-i.tv/core/portal/webcast_interactive/419952/start_time/131000

 

Decisions aren't in practice actually taken by one Councillor. (As I'm sure you well know)

 

Such decisions are always discussed by the ruling group before the lead Member formally takes the decision. (Exactly the same would happen in a committee system)

 

Decisions are advertised and the lead Member can have a decision meeting if they wish, which other Members and the public could attend. Even if a meeting is not held, anyone who wants to can contact the lead Member and give them their views.

 

Again, having a committee meeting does actually cost more money. Councillors get expenses for attending meetings, so that's about 8 sets of expenses for each regular meeting, (of which there will be many). Officer time spent on the various initiatives discussed will also increase (they don't have the committee meetings now, so that is blindingly obvious to anyone), which palaces greater demands on services and means officers spend even less time actually doing something positive to progress the initiatives we all actually want. The demands on the governance team will also increase due to the significant increase in number of meetings they need to service (ie record and publish minutes, publish agendas, book venues, invite officers, circulate papers etc etc). The committee meetings also occupy meeting rooms for long periods which could otherwise be used for other (potentially fee earning, or avoiding paying fees for external venues) purposes.

 

I can only conclude that you are very naïve, or you are being deliberately misleading, because what you describe is not the reality of what happens now or will happen if a committee system were to be introduced.

 

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Do you have experience of the modernised committee systems in the 30 councils that have changed, or are you talking about old-style committee systems (which everyone agrees were inefficient)? The petition is not about returning to an old-style committee system but about moving to a modernised committee system - they are different systems.

 

The national expert on modernised committee systems, from the Centre for Public Scrutiny, has published many reports on this, where he shows that a modernised committee system is not more expensive.  The CFPS is neutral about which system is best for a particular council, but they still say a modernised committee system is not more expensive. That expert has been involved in the process of change in nearly all of the 30 councils that have changed to a modernised committee system, so I think he must know what he is talking about.

 

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39 minutes ago, jbagley said:

Do you have experience of the modernised committee systems in the 30 councils that have changed, or are you talking about old-style committee systems (which everyone agrees were inefficient)? The petition is not about returning to an old-style committee system but about moving to a modernised committee system - they are different systems.

 

No, I don't. 30 Councils represents far less than 10% of the local authorities in the UK, so it is hardly widespread.

 

So how is a "modernised" committee meeting any different to any other? The 8 or so Councillors still have to attend, the governance team still have to  service the meetings and officers still have to attend to present reports. Contrast this to a single Member making the decision in private. How exactly is the Committee cost neutral compared to a single Member decision? Perhaps you'd care to give us a link to the information from the Centre for Public Scrutiny you are citing.

 

Also would you like to explain how you think your proposed system would make any difference to the eventual outcomes, bearing in mind that the ruling political group will instruct their Councillors on committees which way to vote on any important issue.

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The most commonly cited report is this from 2012 (only 1 year after the law was changed to allow councils to change their governance system away from the one imposed on Sheffield by the Blair government). From the section on Costs:

"In all instances it has been concluded that there will be no negative effect from a change [to a committee system] in the long term."

https://www.cfps.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Musical-Chairs.pdf

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1 hour ago, jbagley said:

The most commonly cited report is this from 2012 (only 1 year after the law was changed to allow councils to change their governance system away from the one imposed on Sheffield by the Blair government). From the section on Costs:

"In all instances it has been concluded that there will be no negative effect from a change [to a committee system] in the long term."

https://www.cfps.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/Musical-Chairs.pdf

A bit more detail from the above link;

 

"5. Costs: transitional and in the medium and long term

5.1 Any change in governance will naturally involve costs – the one off costs of making the transition, plus the potential for higher costs on an ongoing basis.

5.2 Only Councils B, C, F, G and L have developed their proposals sufficiently for an assessment of costs to be made. In all instances it has been concluded that there will be no negative effect from a change in the long term."

 

So 5 councils in the country have come to the conclusion there will be no extra cost - not all of them by any means.

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19 hours ago, Top Cats Hat said:

What a strange suggestion. Should we also sign a petition calling on Parliament to make Theresa May’s cabinet more representative as at the moment it is made up largely of white, male conservatives who represent wealthy constituents in London and the South East?

 

Also claiming that about 10% of councillors make 100% of decisions is misleading. A quick look at the above map shows that those cabinet members tend to be from areas of much higher populations in the centre of Sheffield so may actually represent much more than 10% of Sheffield citizens.

I don't think it's a strange suggestion at all, there are many models for running councils, and our council has adopted one which concentrates the decision making process into very few hands.

16 hours ago, sheffbag said:

Again - good luck to you in your quest but how would you replace it? every councillor gets a vote on everything? Good luck with that

 

Any other random guesses?

13 hours ago, Annie Bynnol said:

As this political advert has come up again, I will reply with little editing.

This is a rehash of a previously failed attempt undermine the democratic process.

These opportunists have jumped on the bandwagon of their recent TV hit.

 

This is a political group based around green ideology directly involved in the Green Party and STAG.

 

Having failed in local council elections across the city elements of the environmentalists  now attempting to "persuade" the majority of Sheffield voters to accept their policies through the back door.

 

If other groups of activists tried to obtain control of our Council we would find it outrageous.

This is about as factually incorrect as it could possibly be.  It reads like some kind of mad conspiracy theory.

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9 hours ago, Longcol said:

A bit more detail from the above link;

 

"5. Costs: transitional and in the medium and long term

5.1 Any change in governance will naturally involve costs – the one off costs of making the transition, plus the potential for higher costs on an ongoing basis.

5.2 Only Councils B, C, F, G and L have developed their proposals sufficiently for an assessment of costs to be made. In all instances it has been concluded that there will be no negative effect from a change in the long term."

 

So 5 councils in the country have come to the conclusion there will be no extra cost - not all of them by any means.

So, all of them that have reached a point of being able to access it though...

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50 minutes ago, Cyclone said:

So, all of them that have reached a point of being able to access it though...

AFAIK no cities of any size - a couple of counties, a few small towns / district councils.

 

The plans of the petition still appear very vague - are they for example suggesting (see #75) that a councillor from each ward should be involved in every executive decision?

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It's been some time since I read the petition, but if I remember correctly it says no such thing and specifically does propose a change to the style of "modernised committee system".  That seems fairly clear to me.

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