Bring family and friends to join us for a delicious curry to raise funds to support Muslim ethnic minority Rohingya people, who have fled to Bangladesh amid atrocities and fatalities in Rakhine state, on Myanmar’s western coast.
The Green group will be submitting a motion to Wednesday’s (December 6th) full Council meeting calling for an investigation into why the Labour administration tried unsuccessfully to have Cllr Alison Teal sent to prison. However, they have found that the wording of the motion has been altered by Council Officers without their permission. The edited version of the motion removes reference to the Administration’s attempt to incarcerate Alison Teal.
At November’s Sheffield council meeting the Green Party group also attempted to submit this as an emergency motion, but it was was blocked on the advice of officers. This represents a pattern of recent efforts to shut down debate and marginalise opposition voices – including suspending the constitution to restrict the ability of opposition parties to present motions.
Speaking on the motion and its alteration, Councillor Rob Murphy said,
“We are shocked and alarmed at the Council’s efforts to silence opposition voices. A strong opposition is vital to good democracy, and without proper scrutiny the Council runs the real risk of becoming unaccountable for its actions.
“Their most outrageous attempt to shut down their opponents was the failed attempt to commit Cllr Teal to prison. The reputational damage that this attempt to jail an opposition Councillor has done to the city is huge, and cannot go ignored.
“My motion is intended to shine a light on the culture of secrecy amongst the small group of councillors and officers running Sheffield Council. That this motion has itself been edited without my consent, in an attempt to hide the truth, is unacceptable.
“Further, the Council continues to attempt to avoid scrutiny by restricting the number of motions we are able to submit to Council, and continually debating national issues of which they have no control over. This attempt to deflect criticism and avoid talking about local issues shows a lack of responsibility.
“The case against Cllr Teal was rejected by the High Court judge without her even having to take to the witness stand. With costs running into the hundreds of thousands of pounds, this pointless and outrageous attempt to send an opposition Councillor to prison was an enormous waste of taxpayers’ money.
“Cllr Teal is an exemplary Councillor and a great representative for her community: this year, she has been nominated for the National Local Government Association’s ‘Community Champion of the Year’ award, and won the National Green Party ‘Impressive Councillor Achievement’ award.”
The Green Party are today calling in the Cabinets decision to sign the Council up to the Accountable Care Partnership (ACP) for scrutiny.
ACPs are new models for a reorganisation of NHS and council services, which could make significant changes to the way that services are organised and delivered in the City. The decision to sign Sheffield up to the system has been taken with little oversight or consultation.
Douglas Johnson, Green Councillor for City ward and member of the Council’s Health and Adult Social Care Scrutiny Committee, is leading a cross-party group concerned about the amount of Councillor oversight of the new arrangements. The Scrutiny Committee is the only cross-party scrutiny mechanism available to oversee these issues at public meetings.
Cllr Johnson commented,
“Scrutiny of the Accountable Care Partnership is very important because it is the basis for cuts in local NHS services – these can be controversial and have a big impact on the public, as we have seen with current plans to cut the Minor Injuries and Walk-in facilities in the city. This is not a decision which should be made without a great deal of examination and careful consideration.
“Further, under the current proposals, there is no scrutiny mechanism for this decision and future decisions about health services under the ACP outside of the Council executive.
“That’s why I am leading a cross-party group, including Councillors from the Green, Liberal Democrat, and Labour parties, calling for effective on-going scrutiny arrangements to be in place for the ACP.”