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Agenda item

Notice of Motion Regarding "Putting Sheffield First" - Given By Councillor Terry Fox And To Be Seconded By Councillor Julie Grocutt

That this Council:-


(a)      recognises the incredible efforts that all staff, partner organisations, voluntary sector, local businesses, community groups and the people of Sheffield have made to get the city through the past 18 months, and thanks everyone for their contribution;


(b)      notes that as the city moves out of lockdown, and continues to open up, it is essential that the Council takes action to secure the city’s recovery across a wide range of areas including support for jobs and the local economy, children and education, supporting people in financial hardship and the full reopening of Council services;


(c)      welcomes the co-operation agreement between the Labour and Green Groups, as set out below:-


          “This Agreement is dated 19 May 2021 and is made between the Labour and Green political groups elected as Members of Sheffield City Council.  This is an agreement for the 2021/22 municipal year and will therefore come to an end at the AGM in May 2022 unless extended by agreement of both parties.


          This Agreement has been drawn up following detailed discussions between the two groups. The Green and Labour Groups acknowledge that no party has an overall majority on Sheffield City Council and this requires a new way of working to be established between the parties.


          Both groups are committed to working in an open, inclusive and democratic way and ensuring the Council has stability and effective leadership.  In order to support this and reflecting the decision of the people of Sheffield in the governance referendum, a politically proportionate transition committee model has been introduced and will be piloted to enable a new way of working in the Council which will facilitate the transition to the committee system.


          Both parties will support the appointment of Terry Fox as Leader of the Council, Julie Grocutt as Deputy Leader of the Council and the appointment of five Labour and three Green Executive Members (designed to represent political proportionality). Whilst the Liberal Democrats declined to join the Executive, if they were to reconsider this decision, then they will get three seats, two to be offered by Labour and one offered by the Greens.


          Both parties will work together in the interests of Sheffield.  In order to secure the city’s recovery we will:-


(i)       implement the new Local Area Committees, giving power back to our communities;


(ii)       introduce a new approach to community safety with additional safer neighbourhood wardens;


(iii)      provide additional investment in our young people;


(iv)      support the recovery of our district centres;


(v)      implement the recommendations in the Arup report dated 19 March to create a pathway to deliver the shared ambition for net zero; and


(vi)      appoint an independent person to conduct a local non-statutory inquiry into the management of the street trees dispute.


Both parties agree:-


(i)       a commitment to deal with each other fairly and honestly;


(ii)       to recognise that this is a new way of working that has not been experienced in Sheffield before;


(iii)      to recognise that all parties, officers and the public will take time to get used to a new style of governance;


(iv)      to recognise that mistakes will be made and to address these respectfully;


(v)      always to act in the best interests of the residents of the city; and


(vi)      to develop a new system to manage council business, taking account of the new working arrangements. This should ensure: All Cabinet briefings are open to both parties; All papers going to Cabinet are fully shared with both parties before the agenda is published; All Council communications in relation to executive decisions are cleared by both parties before issue; and consensus is sought wherever possible and a mechanism will be established between the leadership of both groups to resolve any issues that may arise.


          A programme of meetings will be planned to facilitate discussions on the budget. It is the full intention to reach a consensus on the Council’s 2022/23 Budget and Housing Revenue Account.”


(d)      welcomes the plans by the Administration to deliver on the following commitments:-


(i)       to introduce Local Area Committees, agreed by this Council in March, as a top priority, with the aim of establishing and embedding them within the Council, thus putting our communities at the heart of decision making and ensuring that Council services are responsive and accountable to the needs of our communities;


(ii)       delivering new investment in District Centres throughout the city to ensure their recovery and renewal, coupled with a wider programme of initiatives to support the re-opening of the city’s economy, such as the recently announced Summer in the Outdoor City Programme;


(iii)      investing in our young people through delivery of the Administration’s additional investment in youth services, following the service being brought back in-house;


(iv)      implementing the recommendations set out in the Arup report to create a pathway to deliver the shared ambition for net zero;


(v)      introducing a new approach to community safety, with additional safer neighbourhood wardens; and


(vi)      appointing an independent person to conduct a local inquiry into the management of the street trees dispute;


(e)      believes that the overriding priority of the Council, and the city as a whole, should be to put Sheffield first and work in the interests of the city and its people and welcomes the commitment of the new Administration to always Put Sheffield First;


(f)       believes that to meet the challenges the city faces it is important for Councillors to work together and co-operate across the city and that this is the responsible thing to do to provide the effective leadership and stability that the city needs from the Council going forward; and


(g)      notes that the Council will now begin a transition into new governance arrangements following the result of the governance referendum and welcomes the Council’s plans to introduce transitional committees to facilitate this change in governance and believes that they will be an important part of piloting this new way of working and supporting the organisation to put in place the best possible arrangements to deliver for Sheffield, working in an open, inclusive and democratic way.