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lysander

Sheffield Corporation

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I seem to remember , back in the 1950's, that the Corporation was responsible for a much bigger "portfolio" than is our current Council. They were responsible for, amongst others..water and public transport as well as a vastly larger housing undertaking We had various undertakings including:...the PWD, SCCE and SCCD. I wonder, does anyone have a list of all the, then, Corporations responsibilities?

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If you want a really in-depth look at the growing Corporation and its activities I can recommend a book called "Sheffield - The growth of a city" by H Keeble Hawson.

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Thanks for reminding me of the book...I did read it many years ago. What particularly interests me is whether, or not ,the Council is responsible for more or less services. I seem to remember we had a Town Clerk and a relatively small upper echelon of bureacrats who were responsible for all manner of services provided by the City. Nowadays, we seem to have a burgeoning upper echelon of "Executives" dealing with fewer and fewer services ,following privatisation. Just an impression.

I have just remembered that the Corporation also had its own printing works, where "millions" of school exercise books, amongst others, were produced

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I'd say they're responsible for a lot less now. Good job really as imagine how much of the city they could screw up if they still had control over almost everything! :ph34r:

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Here's the list of Corporation Departments in 1972/3:

Abattoir

Ambulance Service

Art Galleries

Cemeteries and Crematorium

City Analyst

City Engineer and Surveyor

Cleansing

Lighting

Water Pollution

Olive Grove Construction and Maintenance

City Hall

City Treasury

Civic Information

Education

Elections

Estates Surveyors

Fire Brigade

Housing

Libraries

Markets

Planning and Architecture

Printing and Stationary

Health Centres ( 24 in all)

Public Works

Recreation

Registration of Births , Deaths and Marriages

Social Services...childrens homes ( 25 in all)

'' Elderly (22 in all)

Homeless Family Unit

Day Nurseries ( 5 in all)

Mother and Baby Home

Day Centres( 10 in all)

Homes for Mentally Handicapped ( 2 in all)

Psychiatric Hostels ( 2 in all)

Workshop for Blind and sales shop

Home Help and Wardens

Town Clerk ( 9 Departments)

Trading Standards

Transport

Water

There were just...23 Senior Officers/ Directors and a Town Clerk looking after this considerable portfolio and Councillors at the time were...unpaid! Compare that with today's paid Councillors and at least 37 senior officers earning at least £55,000 pa :rolleyes:

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Councillors receive less than £12,000 a year and are paid for doing a part-time job role, whereas a decent Councillor will do full-time hours. Not paying Councillors would mean only people with another source of income could do the job. Councillors should be paid a full-time wage and do a full-time job.

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The problem is if you have full-time councilors on a salary it becomes a career, whereas part-time councillors bring some kind of work experience with them. That's the problem with MP's today. In the old days they would probably have some kind of career or job, then become a Councillor, then an MP, with a background of work experience, community work etc. Nowadays they are either barristers, or go straight from school (often public) to university where they study politics and economics, then become Parliamentary researchers and advisers, then become elected MP's, with no experience of real life outside politics, or understanding of the lives of the vast majority of the population, hence the 'disconnect' that leaves people disillusioned with the process. And so you get a choice between candidates of different parties who are so close together in experience (or lack of it) and beliefs that people don't see any point in voting.

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I obtained the list of Corporation Departments from a retired ex-Councillor. She worked as a secretary and being a Councillor actually cost her money. I have seen her diary for just one year out of her many as a Councillor and I was amazed at the number of meetings, surgeries and functions she attended...which she did as a Civic duty and for scarcely a handful of peanuts as expenses.

I would argue that our City was better run* and had more vision than it does under the current system where Councillors are paid and the numbers of Executives expand exponentially. Each Ward has 3 elected members so we spend circa £36,000 a year on Council representation... for a single Ward and Sheffield has 28 Wards which is a total cost of over £ 1 million. This needs adding to the Senior Executives total of...£ 3.3 million

* In the late 19th century Sheffield was described as "dull but well run"

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I agree with Bayleaf. I don't think councillors should be paid at all. In my opinion £10,000 is plenty for a full time job. I bet there are lots of people out there who would love to get £10,000 per year, whatever the hours. The point is though that vouncillors should be public spirited with the public good at heart, and so should be unpaid volunteers like are to be found in many other organisations.

My experience of the modern day council is of lazy, lying individuals who sit around dreaming up stupid ideas in an attempt to justify their existance. They come up with pointless grandious schemes that cost a ton of money and deliver little or no benefit, except to over-paid contractors or a few favoured charities. They either destroy or give away assets and generally leave the city in a far poorer state. This is why I'm totally in favour of council budget cuts and will definitely be voting Conservative on May 10th. The council just fritters our money away, so why should we give it to them?

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I actually believe that people should be rewarded for the effort that they have expended, and for a job well done. That is generally, although not universally, how it works in the private sector.

However, with responsibility comes accountability, and if you do not do a good job in the private sector, then you generally, although again, not universally, tend not to keep that job for too long.

Unfortunately, in the public sector, particularly with our "elected representatives", the occasional re-election does not constitute true accountability, which is partly down to the apathy displayed by most members of the electorate.

Consequently, if our councillors were paid a full-time wage, then you would still end up with the same mediocrity. It would simply cost you more for the privilege.

 

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There are Councillors across the range from very good to very bad, in the same way that there are all kinds of MP's too. I would rather see Councillors do the job full-time and not as an aside to the rest of their life. With respect to people on here there is a lot of talk and criticism, but no-one else involved in the political process. Standing in Council elections doesn't cost anything and if anyone feels strongly enough about a local preservation or conservation issue then I suggest standing in local elections on a single issue - at the very least it would attract some publicity. As a candidate I welcome others running lively campaigns too as it provokes debate and discussion.

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I would stand, but unfortunately can't as I don't actually live in the city.

The way to make councillors, or any elected official, more accountable is to have the elections more often. And when they do have elections make it easier for people to vote by using methods like online and SMS voting. SMS voting should be particularly secure as the system could be set up to only accept one vote from any given number.

Lets have an electronic election every three months, with coouncillors and MPs always aware that if they do something stupid they can be booted out within 12 weeks.

As some of you already know, my current gripe with the council involves Amey and the very inappropriately named "streets ahead programme". There have been reports of them shodily tarmacing over cobbled side streets and it's a known fact that they are ripping out historic street furniture, such as Sheffield's many locally manufactured cast iron lamp posts, then dumping said posts with an organisation who are making a hefty profit out of them. After a whole year, I'm still waiting for Labour councillor Nikki Bond to get back to me on this issue, which she promissed me faithfully she would do. In the meantime I now understand Amey's idea of "restoration" of Shefield's remaining sewer gas lamps is to rip out their original gas fittings (even in the ones which were restored by the Nether Edge Neighbourhood Group a few years ago and are still in full working order) and replace them with LEDs!

If the council really want to spend all this money which seems to be burning a hole in their pocket, why not lower the business rates for small start ups, repair the MAIN roads instead of butchering the side streets, restart a proper outdoor market and do a million and one other things that anyone with eyes can see needs attention.

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I started working for the council in the City Engineers department in 1973, back then the council ran most things, highways, cleansing, and house building among other things. Just 6 months later South Yorkshire County Council appeared and a lot of things were transferred to that body. Highways was one of those things transferred in part, Sheffield hung onto parts of its responsibility for 'non county' roads and paths and that lasted until 1977 when the whole lot went under SYCC.

When SYCC was abolished in 1986 all its responsibilities were transferred back to the district councils, however the money from central government was reduced, and in a couple of years 'short term' money saving exercises were put in place. In our section this meant capital investment was stopped, which meant 2000 street lamps per year were not being replaced as they came to the end of their time. The same happened in other departments, roads didn't get their correct maintenance etc. This was the start of the rot in terms of service, we didn't do capital replacement for years, only getting an injection of cash when the Councillors decided to re=mortgage Don Valley stadium (remember that?)

Revenue budgets in the early 2000's stood still at best, but inflation meant a cut in real terms, it became a case of managing the service with the reducing cash. Add into the equation constant re-organisation, Sheffield Works Department, Sheffield Works and finally Street Force, all with reductions in staff, the constant threat  of redundancy, we always got the 'vulnerability' letters just before Christmas, and staff moral dropped like a stone.

Councillors changed, Chief Execs. changed and each time there was an upheaval, we trudged on doing more with less, investment had all but stopped and things looked really grim. By 2005 we entered the process of going into a PFI, it took a further 7 years for it to happen, more uncertainty, more cuts, more gloom.

Enter Amey in 2012, the council hived off highways, street lighting and everything that goes with the 'street scene'. Has it improved? Well they've just done the lights near me, 3 months from digging the new holes for the new lights to completing them, a job we used to do in 4-5 weeks, gritting cut back, jobs stopped because they haven't paid suppliers/sub contractors, not carrying out some investments agreed with the council taking a punitive fine instead.

Oh I didn't stay long, I resigned, and quite a few others have left as well. I used to be quite proud to work for the council, latterly I kept it quiet.

Sorry if this is a bit long but it's sad how in my 38 years of service the role of the council changed from one of providing a service at a reasonable price to outsourcing its responsibilities to outfits who only want to make as much money out of Sheffield as possible.

Nigel L

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I doubt having an election every three months, electronic or otherwise, would create anything other than extra costs to the tax -payers and chaos. Council only meets once a month and the movement of  "failing" Councillors might be like musical chairs.

Do we need 3 Councillors per Ward...especially as they are, at least in Sheffield, all Party hacks? Effectively, this means that  a small group of unelected enthusiasts  will actually select who gets elected? It's really all of our fault that so many third-raters are elected...simply because so few of us are prepared to stand ( I have stood for election...decades ago) or become involved.

As for Executives I find it nauseous that they should receive so much financially and, when they fail and leave, receive even more. If ever there was a job for the "Boys and Girls" this is it! This is a non-political forum so I shall restrain myself from expanding on that theme!

 

 

 

Edited by lysander

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Lemmy,

I have worked in private sector, purchasing - procurement related jobs nearly all my working life, and I am now approaching retirement. My job is essentially to secure the best possible job for the business, at the best possible price, and against the best possible terms.

Many of the businesses that we deal with also deal with the public sector, and of many of those service providers with whom we trade, you would know by name, were I to identify them, which, as I am sure that you will appreciate, I cannot.

However, many of them are very open and blatant in stating that they always do better out of the public sector, than they could ever achieve out of the private sector.

This despite the fact that the spend associated with many of those public sector contracts is much greater than that of the private sector, which clearly flies in the face of the well proven adage, [at least in the private sector], that volume talks!

Which brings you to the conclusion that the systems, the procedures and the processes within the public sector are not as rigorously enforced as they should be, in order to ensure that the value for money that they should achieve is not being achieved!

 

 

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I  also have had experience of selling to both private enterprise as well as to the public sector. The former were, in my experience, the harder to deal with...being more accutely aware of price, generally less keen to pay on time and more likely to make complaint. . Once on the list of "preferred suppliers", or at least that's what it was called years ago, then a  more profitable relationship could often be achieved with the Public sector.

Edited by lysander

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