Many events are being held as part of Local Democracy Week, which runs from Monday 15th October to Sunday 21st October and below is a list just some of the events which make up the Sheffield Speaks programme during Local Democracy Week.We’ve indicated which are open to the public and provided links to further information.
Entry to all open events is free.
Monday 15 October
- Speakers’ Corner in front of the Town Hall: 10.45am-2.00 pm, hosted by Sheffield City Council and Churches Together
- to book your 60 second slot, please call 2734072
- Councillors visit Youth Clubs – organised by the South Community Assembly, Councillors visit different youth clubs, every evening of the week
Tuesday 16 October
- Speakers’ Corner at Hallam Square: 12.00 -1.00 pm Tuesday
- Primary School visits and activities at the Town Hall
- Illuminating Our Democracy? The Role of Free Speech and a Free Press– lecture and discussion led by John Steel, lecturer in Journalism Studies at Sheffield University – Council Chamber, Town Hall 6.00 – 8.00 pm
- Open to the public – for more information, please call 2734072
Wednesday 17 October
- Primary School visits and activities at the Town Hall
- Youth Forum Launch (Woodthorpe/East): Woodthorpe Youth Centre, Chadwick Road
- Open to the public – for more information, please contact April Ellis (Locality Involvement Lead – East) at email@example.com or telephone 0114 201 2782
- Dragon’s Den at the Young People’s Building – Council officers pitch their ideas for community engagement for young people to judge
- Health & Community Care– an opportunity to listen to and participate in the Council’s Scrutiny Committee’s meeting on these key issues: Town Hall 2.00pm
- South Community Assembly Community Roadshow – public services and local organisations welcome engagement with the community: Common Ground/St Peter’s (Woodstock Road) 4.00 – 6.00 pm
- Open to the public – for more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 2053281
- Northern Community AssemblyMeeting – the Northern Youth Forum presents its community action plan: Ecclesfield Primary School 6.30 pm
- Open to the public – for more information, please contact email@example.com or telephone 2037153
Thursday 18 October
- Speakers’ Corner at Hallam Square: 1.00 – 2.00 pm
- Our Sheffield – older people visit a local primary school to discuss their city with a group of eight year-olds in an initiative organised by the Sheffield Star
- Cabinet in the Community at South West Community Assembly– the Council’s Cabinet goes out into the community at Banner Cross Methodist Church, Ecclesall Road South: 5.00 pm Cabinet in the Community / 7.00 pm Community Assembly Meeting
- Open to the public – for more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 2037212
- Police Commissioner Hustingsorganised by Sheffield Third Sector Assembly / Voluntary Action Sheffield for local groups involved in community safety and crime reduction
- Open to voluntary and community groups – for more information, please contact Paul Harvey at email@example.com or on 0114 253 6614
- The Sheffield Past, Present and Future debate- Town Hall 5.00-7.00pm – organised by Sheffield 50+ and Sheffield Futures; in Local Democracy Week, can young and older people agree how best to make their voices heard?
- For more information, please contact Julie Berrisford on 0114 273 5426
- Participate – a talk and discussion organised by the Workers’ Educational Association about why people do or do not participate in the democratic process (the taster for a course starting in January 2013): Town Hall 6.00-8.00 pm
Friday 19 October
- Speakers’ Corner at Hallam Square: 1.00 – 2.00 pm
- City Talks – The Great Debate – a day of debate at the Town Hall designed to give 11-18 year-olds the opportunity to express themselves, exchange views, gain confidence and boost engagement, organised by the Council’s Every Sheffield Child Articulate and Literate programme
- For more information, please contact ESCAL on 0114 293 0984 or visit firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday 23 October
- Community Assemblies: the Way Forward?- A meeting organised by Sheffield for Democracy, for community organisations and activists to share ideas on how community assemblies might develop: Town Hall, 6.30-8.30 pm
Renaissance of Local Government?
Friday 22nd June 2012, 6.00pm – 7.45 pm at Town Hall, Sheffield
In collaboration with Sheffield City Council, Sheffield for Democracy is hosting an event to discuss proposals to strengthen the independence of local government.
The last fifty years have seen a growing centralisation of power in England with local government having less autonomy and becoming more and more local administration of central government policy.
The Westminster Select Committee on Political and Constitutional Reform has made some radical proposals which could change this and are consulting on them. This meeting is an opportunity to hear about these changes and their implications, and to discuss how they might improve our democracy.
- Clive Betts MP,
- Howard Sykes (Local Government Association and ex leader of Oldham Council), and
- Peter Facey (Director of Unlock Democracy) will help us explore the proposed changes.
Both Sheffield City Council and Sheffield for Democracy will be making (separate) submissions and this discussion will inform our thinking.
You are invited to attend. Entry is free, however places are limited.
To reserve a place, please contact Richard Cannon either by email via email@example.com.
Further information on the draft code for central and local government can be found at http://www.parliament.uk/
Sheffield for Democracy welcomes supporters of all political parties or none. We want to engage and encourage greater participation of the public in democracy at a local level in Sheffield and encourage young people to become more interested in politics by making them aware of how relevant it is to their lives.
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 »
Local Sheffield paper The Star is hosting a debate on elected mayors on Monday evening to allow members of the public to question the main opponents and supporters of having an elected Mayor of Sheffield.
IT’S one of the biggest decisions Sheffield residents will have to make – and will have a huge impact on the way the city is run.
Now The Star is giving you the chance to join a Question Time-style debate about whether the city should have an elected mayor.
The event is being held on Monday, from 6.30pm, at Sheffield Hallam University’s the Cantor Lecture Theatre, in the Cantor Building, Arundel Street. Panellists are to include council leader Julie Dore, who is opposed to elected mayors, and Kevin Meagher, chairman of the Mayor4Sheffield campaign.
Voters will asked at a referendum on Thursday to make the choice between keeping the current system where they elect councillors who then choose a leader and cabinet members, or to have a directly-elected mayor to run the council.
Sheffield City Council’s 28 wards are divided into 7 Community Assemblies (4 wards per assembly) which “aim to bring decision-making closer to local people”. Each assembly has a budget to spend on local projects and things like road improvements. The decisions of the assemblies are made by the 12 Councillors from its constituent wards based on reports drawn up by Council Officers and submissions made by the public.
The Labour administration in Sheffield are considering the future of community assemblies, however to the best of our knowledge there has never been a thorough review of the function and effectiveness of Community Assemblies.
We believe no decision can legitimately be made about their future without such a review and consulting the people of Sheffield – the people whom the assemblies are meant to serve.
We have launched an online survey to find out what you think about the Assemblies so that we can put a proposal about the future of Community Assemblies to Sheffield City Council to make sure that local people have a proper say in any changes. To complete the survey please select the link below.
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.
Sheffield for Democracy has today published a report on its supporters’ experiences with the seven Community Assemblies in Sheffield. This report has been drawn up in parallel with an ongoing public consultation it is holding about the wider Sheffield public’s experiences and comes as Sheffield for Democracy have issued open letters to leaders of the political parties on Sheffield City Council.
The key message of this report is that people do not want the future of Community Assemblies to become a political football between the two main parties.
The current Community Assemblies should be seen as a starting point for discussion, with room for development and change, and not things as they are being defended at all costs. No one who had experience of the Assemblies felt that they should be disbanded. Several supporters believe that it would be a great loss if the Assemblies were disbanded or curtailed to the point where Council business was merely reported rather than discussed.