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Decision details

Empowering Communities: Shifting Power from the Town Hall to Communities in Every Part of Sheffield

Decision Maker: Co-operative Executive

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Is Key decision?: Yes


The report will consider the outcome of the Local Area Partnerships review.



Through the Big City Conversation before the pandemic, together with the work undertaken by the Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee on Sheffield City Council’s governance in 2019/20, citizens told us that they want more control and influence over the decisions and issues that really matter to their local area.

The new Area Committees will engage, enable, and empower communities across the city with increasing control over decision making, marking a major shift in power to communities with a rolling programme of devolution over the next 12 to 18 months.

The report sets out a work plan for the coming months, focusing on the immediate steps to establish the new Local Area Committees by May 2021 and an iterative programme of activity over the 12 - 18 months from May to increase the responsibilities of those Area Committees.




RESOLVED: That Cabinet:-



1.             Agrees the approach and issues identified within this report as providing the framework within which the detailed work on Local Area Committees to replace the current 7 Local Area Partnerships will be taken forward;


2.             Agree the initial engagement of community groups and residents as part of the shaping of the Local Area Committees as defined by the big city conversation, and the continuing engagement of local communities as further powers are devolved over the implementation period;


3.             Approves the arrangements set out in this report and recommends Council to establish 7 Local Area Committees and to approve the draft Area Committee Terms of Reference and Area Committee Procedure Rules attached to this report at Appendix 1 & 2 of the report as changes to the Constitution, together with any minor consequential amendments, to take effect from Annual Council;


4.             Subject to Full Council agreeing to establish area committees, agrees that the proposals for an enhanced Leader and Cabinet governance model and for a Committee system of governance, as approved by Cabinet on 19th February 2020, each be amended to include area committees as described in this report;


5.             Requests the Director of Policy Performance and Communications, in consultation with the Director of Legal and Governance, to set out the main features of these proposals as amended in a notice to be published as required by the Referendum Regulations, and to undertake additional activity to ensure that they are communicated to people in the city as clearly as possible before the referendum;

6.             Notes and support the Programme Governance described within the report;


7.             Approves the use of reserves for 2021/22 as set out in the report; and


8.             Requires Officers to ensure that progress with programme development and implementation is regularly reported to Elected Members.





Reasons for Decision




We want people and communities in every part of Sheffield to be in control and shape the decisions and issues which matter to them and their area. As a City Council, we recognise that we need to match the knowledge, passion and insight that Sheffielders have for their local areas with the ability to take decisions at the local level which can deliver real change.




The proposed establishment of Local Area Committees will ensure that this ambition is achieved. We will put in place a community led committee system with strong decision-making powers and accountability.




Alternatives Considered and Rejected




Retaining the existing Local Area Partnership Structure is an option however this would not allow for the significant shift in devolvement of powers to local decision-making committees. Retaining Local Area Partnerships would therefore not achieve the aims and ambitions of the City to further empower local communities.




Any Interest Declared or Dispensation Granted








Reason for Exemption if Public/Press Excluded During Consideration








Respective Director Responsible for Implementation




Director of Legal and Governance




Relevant Scrutiny and Policy Development Committee If Decision Called In




Overview and Scrutiny Management Committee


NOTE: The above item is not subject to call-in as (1) all of the above, apart from resolution 3, are removed from the call-in process to allow for the consideration at Full Council on 18th March, 2021 of the establishment of seven Local Area Committees and approval of the draft Area Committee Terms of Reference and Area Committee Procedure Rules, together with any minor consequential amendments, to take effect from Annual Council. This will also enable the notice that the Council is required by the Local Authorities (Conduct of Referendums) (England) Regulations 2012 to publish not fewer than 28 days before the date of the referendum to be amended in good time in respect of the new governance proposals, and additional activity to be undertaken to ensure that the proposals are communicated to people in the city as clearly as possible before the referendum; and

(2) resolution 3 is subject to approval of the Full Council at its meeting to be held on 18 March 2021 and is not subject to call-in.


Report author: Dawn Shaw

Publication date: 17/03/2021

Date of decision: 17/03/2021

Decided at meeting: 17/03/2021 - Co-operative Executive

Accompanying Documents: