Sheffield City Council unveils plans for new Local Area Committees

Written by Adam Stanworth

Image credit: The University of Sheffield

A new local democracy initiative is likely to be given the green light which will see a major shake-up to the way the city is governed.

Sheffield City Council are set to introduce ‘Local Area Committees’ which will replace the ‘Local Area Partnership’ (LAP), representing a “fundamental power shift in Sheffield.”

The proposed initiative has come as a result of the extensive ‘Big City Conversation’ survey, conducted by the council in 2019 and early 2020, which found that Sheffielders wanted greater influence over local issues. 

The new Local Area Committees will be led by local councillors and given new devolved powers such as budgetary responsibility and delegated decision-making responsibilities.

Each committee will have its own elected chair and vice-chair, who will act as a conduit between council leaders and residents.

The council explained: “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.”

Sheffield Wards: Image Credit – Locus

The committees are likely to be established by May and following this there will be a twelve to eighteen month roll-out period.

The twenty-eight wards that made up the outgoing LAPs will be replaced by new area boundaries but the geographical make-up of these committees is something that is still yet to be finalised.

The initiative is based on similar models seen in Nottingham and Leeds, where local communities have also been given decision-making responsibilities.

The council has pledged: “We will put in place a community led committee system with strong decision-making powers and accountability.”

Written by Adam Stanworth

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