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It's Our City submit petition: 26,419 call for Council governance change

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Photo by It's Our City!

A campaign to change the governance model of Sheffield City Council has declared their total number of signatures.

26,419 citizens signed the It's Our City! petition in a year. A referendum will now ask citizens whether the Council should switch to a modern committee model.

The current 'strong leader' model sees power held by a small Cabinet and Council Leader. A committee system would hand more power to backbench councillors and opposition parties.

The announcement comes amid a wave of resignations from the ruling Labour Cabinet.

Sheffield City Council has simply left it too late, and there is no room for manoeuvre

Deputy Leader Olivia Blake resigned from the Cabinet last Friday to support the campaign. Blake's husband, Lewis Dagnall, stepped down from his Climate Change post on Sunday.

Councillors Moya O'Rourke, Sophie Wilson, Adam Hurst and Fran Johnson have all resigned as Cabinet Advisers. All six will continue as backbench Labour councillors.

"We estimate that we have had almost 20,000 conversations with Sheffielders in all their diversity, and across every ward in the city," said It's Our City! in a statement.

Since the petition closed, the Council are now legally obliged to hold a referendum and can't switch to a committee system voluntarily.

"Sheffield City Council has simply left it too late, and there is no room for manoeuvre," said It's Our City!

"It will now be Sheffield communities and voters who take charge of the way decisions are made in our city."

The referendum is likely to take place at the same time as the local elections in May 2020, unless the government calls a general election before then.

Sam Gregory

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Councillors Dagnall, Wilson and Johnson. Photo posted by Lewis Dagnall on social media.

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