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Petition on changing governance arrangements at city council reaches threshold for referendum

A petition calling for a referendum on changing Sheffield City Council’s governance arrangements has reached the required number of signatures of 5% of the electorate, the local authority has confirmed.

The petition, which was received by the council on 24 August 2019, calls for Sheffield to be run via a committee system, with one or more committees made up of elected councillors, instead of the current executive arrangements, with a leader who is an elected councillor chosen by the other elected councillors.

The council said a referendum on the issue would be held no later than the end of the next ordinary day of election after the petition date (i.e. not later than 7 May 2020).

Sheffield said it was currently developing options following July’s Full Council meeting where a review was agreed, the findings of which are due to be reported on within six months.

“The review will include input from a cross party group of councillors as well as stakeholders, to help inform the proposals for how a committee system could work,” it added.

Cllr Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, said: “It’s a fantastic achievement that 5% of the electorate have signed this petition and I would like to thank the people who have signed as well as those who have organised the petition.

“This is a positive opportunity to improve how the council works and gain a wide range of views from different people, groups and partners across the city. We want as many people as possible to engage in this debate, and reach as many as possible of the remaining 95% of the people in this city, which is why, as well as looking at governance systems, we want to listen to people about how the council engages and serves the people of Sheffield regardless of which governance system is in place.”

Cllr Dore added: “We will also be speaking with all of our partners, across the public, private and voluntary sectors, who we work with to make the right decisions, making Sheffield a great place to live, learn, work and enjoy.

“We want a big conversation about how we make the decisions that affect and improve people’s lives.”

Cllr Terry Fox, Sheffield's Deputy Leader, will lead the review which includes the options for governance models, looking at the different benefits of the committee system and the current Leader and Cabinet system.

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