Last year I wrote about the problems with how we currently elect councillors and England & Wales, about how First Past The Post allows parties with a minority of support to get a majority of seats, undermines accountability and contributes to lower voter turnout. I suggested how we could fix all these problems, by electing our councillors using the same system used in Scotland and Northern Ireland: The Single Transferable Vote (STV). Well after another round of local elections we have a yet another set of results which show how our democracy is being undermined by our “winner takes all” electoral system. Read the rest of this entry »
The following is a copy of our letter to the Sheffield Telegraph regarding the future of Sheffield’s seven Community Assemblies.
In the light of renewed interest in local democracy, and communities wishing to have their say, we want to know what will happen to community involvement and participation in Sheffield. Bringing decision making closer to neighbourhoods is a good way to tackle political apathy.
In the past Labour set up Area Panels, and the Liberal Democrats set up Community Assemblies. Both models have advantages as well as disadvantages; the Area Panels were for consultation, the Assemblies for local decision making including on some local budgets. We understand the future of the Community Assemblies is now under consideration
The following is a copy of our letter to Councillor Ms Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council, regarding the future of Sheffield’s seven Community Assemblies. Copies were also sent to Councillors Mick Rooney (Labour), Shaffaq Mohammed (Liberal Democrats) and Jillian Creasy (Green Party).
Dear Councillor Dore,
We understand that the future of Community Assemblies is under consideration.
I am enclosing a summary of comments from our supporters who have had experience of the work of the Assemblies: it is based on the experience of 5 out of the 7 Assemblies, and represents views from across the political spectrum. You will see that they make two points very strongly: first that the future of the Community Assemblies should not become a political football between the two main parties; second, that any proposals for change should seek to develop the good intentions of both main parties to involve local communities in decision making (albeit using different models) and should protect the positive aspects of networking and close working that is developing in some areas.