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Public meeting: "Democracy: Safe in their hands?"

Thu 23 Jan 2014, 7pm Quaker Meeting House, St James St. S1 2EW

Sheffield for Democracy has its first event of 2014, hosting a public meeting with speakers: Alex Runswick, Director of Unlock DemocracyStephen Twigg MP, Labour spokesperson on constitutional mattersCouncillor Shaffaq Mohammed, Lib Dem Leader in Sheffield Green Party and Conservative Party also invited to make contributionsThis is the period when political parties will be working out what to put in their manifestoes, so a good time to engage in discussions with them about what we would like to see. Although there is not much to be cheerful about, with the Lobbying and Transparency Bill due back in the Lords next week, the Deregulation Bill also wending its way through Parliament, and the Antisocial Behaviour and Police Bill Report Stage also in Lords, at this public meeting our politicians can explain their approach to these issues. Ironic that the next stages for all these bills are in the Lords and so could be determined by this unelected and unaccountable body, not a second chamber with democratic legitimacy.Stop Press: Some concessions announced on Lobbying and Transparency BillMeanwhile, two things concerning Sheffield City Council that Unlock Democracy is working on:Local scrutiny arrangements, more important than ever, now that the Audit Commission no longer overseas local authorities. Let them know if you are interested in working with them on this.Arrangements for Sheffield Community Consultations following the demise of the Community Assemblies: local area partnerships (LAPs) (for those 7 areas that had community assemblies) with one of the local councillors leading as Chair, and a lead councillor in every ward. They are worried about the loss of the previous opportunities for anyone to turn up and ask questions of their councillors at the community assemblies, with some meetings of LAPs seemingly not open to the public. They are not confident that what has been promised is actually happening, and plan to monitor it. Can you help? Are you involved with local forums? LAPS? Do you know what events your lead councillor is proposing for the promised three a year? They are particularly looking for contacts in North, North West, South and South East Areas.

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