About This Blog

The public should know all we can about the business of the decision makers that affect our lives, our wallets and our democracy. This is a record of my efforts to try and improve the levels of transparency and accountability within Sheffield City Council and others. To shine a light on how decisions are made and where the money goes. If I can also help others to find their own voice and influence along the way, then that is a bonus.

Campaign & Issues

Current aims

Transparency & Accountability are my watchwords. All the campaigns and issues I address have an underlying design of improving the people's access to the information they need to understand what is going on and to be able to hold the decision makers to account for both good and bad decisions.

This is why I continue to push for Council Meetings to be broadcast on the internet (webcasting), four years and counting on this issue, whilst with others I continue to push for better neighbourhood engagement between Council and the local public. This is so important for so many issues, from services to planning and policing to parking. Major decisions in the city are to often made with little 'real' discussion with the public they affect until after the decision is made. This must change if local politicians want to carry public opinion with them in difficult financial times.

Major issues currently continue to be around Outsourced Contracts, particularly the £2 Billion contract known as 'Streets Ahead'. In addition there are issues around planning. Both the long awaited but still unfinished 'Sheffield Plan' to provide some level of structure to the defence against some bad developers in the city, but also the development of 'Neighbourhood Plans' to allow local residents some say in the development of their local areas.

Councillor behaviour and the conduct of Council meetings is under review but, as yet, there has been no public consultation on this. Are Councillors making it better for them or for us? This runs hand in hand with the 'scrutiny' process and my concerns over the effectiveness and independence of the process.

Overall it is about ensuring that decisions are made with at least some level of public scrutiny and if I, as my 'Public Interest' persona can help achieve that so much the better.


I am very bad at blowing my own trumpet and accepting the credit for what I've achieved but for the benefit of those new to this website I will outline some highlights of my work.

Putting into the public domain information on the major city contracts creating profit for private companies who are delivering public services.

Working with Officers and Councillors to get information onto the Council website about the major contractors, the services they deliver, their management, scrutiny and the main contacts. Including of course the cost of the contracts.

Finally, after much prevarication by Council, getting the details of the 'Streets Ahead' contract on the website, albeit in a much redacted version. This was followed by a commitment to a 'presumed disclosure' of future major contracts in the same way.

After much debate and pressure getting agreement from the Leader of the Council to adopt webcasting for Council meetings, though implementing this is taking far too long.

Prompting Council to review their contracting procedures to exclude bidding contractors who fail to meet fair tax and Human Rights requirements. Similarly getting Council to review there own use and their contractors use of Zero Hour contractors for employees.

Working with Sheffield City region on their constitution and public engagement protocols. Some ideas were taken on board but there is more work to be done.

Providing evidence, both written and oral, to Parliamentary Select Committees on local political powers and voter engagement.

Working with the Electoral Reform Society and the associated Universities on the pilot Citizens Assembly project in Sheffield, 'Assembly North'.

Plus many small wins in the daily struggle for transparency & accountability that are too many to mention.