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Agenda item

Engaging and Involving Sheffielders in Transforming the City's Governance

Report of Director of Legal and Governance.



The Committee received a report of the Director of Legal and Governance concerning engaging and involving Sheffielders in transforming the city’s governance. The Head of Policy and Partnerships, Laurie Brennan, highlighted that the report provided an overview of the proposed approach to ensure that Sheffielders had a strong and active role in the development of the city’s new modern Committee System.



It was mentioned that the report highlighted an engagement approach, including upcoming activities that would interconnect citizens, communities and city partners between October and December 2021. The report also outlined that Sheffield City Council had brought in an independent charity with engagement expertise (Involve) to help the Council define its future ways of working with regard to the engagement of residents in the formulation of policy and decisions.



The Head of Policy and Partnerships asked the Committee to review the draft principles set out at section 10 of the report, which would be integrated with the draft Design Principles going forward.



Sarah Allan, The Director of Capacity Building and Standards at Involve, attended the meeting to give an overview of some work Involve had been part of and to answer any questions the Committee had.



Sarah Allan explained that Involve had worked with the UK Government, UK Parliament, Local Governments, Private Organisations and Community Groups on improving how they engage with members of the public. Sarah explained that a variety of engagement methods were used to ensure the public can contribute to decisions that impact their lives.



Sarah Allan assured the Committee that Involve would work with Sheffield City Council to meet its needs and engage with the people the Council sought to reach.



She gave an insight on how three workstreams would improve engagement with stakeholders. These were-


  1. Looking Inwards – working with Sheffield City Council to ensure a strong alignment is formed between engagement and the new model.
  2. Looking Outwards – working with Sheffield City Council to develop and deliver public engagement activities.
  3. Training, Mentoring and Support – to pass on skills and knowledge to Sheffield City Council for future engagement.



Members of the Committee asked questions and the key points to note were-



Reference was made to the Training, Mentoring and Support workstream and that training needed to be carried out and accessible to both Councillors and Officers.



A question was asked if an example could be given of how Involve intend to reach out to community groups that do not usually engage. Sarah Allan informed the Committee that all of Involve’s projects aim to reach out to groups that Sheffield City Council do not usually engage with.



It was asked whether It’s Our City had shared insight on how they engaged and carried out so many conversations with the public. The Head of Policy and Partnerships stated that It’s Our City had not yet shared their methods with Sheffield City Council however a key aspect of their approach was to carry out a transfer of knowledge to the Council. It was stated that It’s Our City were very interested in working with the Council on how they can improve public engagement.



RESOLVED: that the Committee


(1) endorses the proposed approach to engaging communities over the coming months, including the proposed underpinning principles which will become part of our design principles; and


(2) endorses the proposed innovative activity with Involve to engage citizens in how we make decisions that are inclusive, accessible and representative in Sheffield.



Supporting documents: