Sheffield City Council
Coat of arms or logo
Gail Smith, Liberal Democrats
since 19 May 2021
Leader of the Council
Terry Fox, Labour
since 19 May 2021
Deputy Leader
Julie Grocutt, Labour
since 19 May 2021
Leader of the Opposition
Chief executive
Kate Josephs
Leadership Model
Leader & Cabinet (Transitioning to Committee system in May 2022)
Seats84 councillors
Sheffield City Council composition
Political groups
Administration (53)
  Labour (40)
  Green (13)
Opposition (31)
  Liberal Democrats (29)
  Conservative (1)
  Independent (1)
Joint committees
Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Combined Authority
First past the post
Last election
6 May 2021
Next election
5 May 2022
Meeting place
Sheffield Town Hall.jpg
Sheffield Town Hall

Sheffield City Council is the city council for the metropolitan borough of Sheffield in South Yorkshire, England. It consists of 84 councillors, elected to represent 28 wards, each with three councillors. It is currently under No Overall Control, with Labour and the Greens forming a co-operation agreement to jointly run the council.


The council was founded as the Corporation of Sheffield in 1843, when Sheffield was incorporated (see History of Sheffield). In 1889, it attained county borough status and in 1893 city status. In 1974, the Local Government Act 1972, reconstituted the City Council as a metropolitan district council of South Yorkshire, governed also by South Yorkshire County Council. It established a system of 90 councillors, three to each of 30 wards. This was reduced in 1980 with the merger of the Attercliffe and Darnall wards to 87 councillors in 29 wards.

In 1986, the abolition of metropolitan county councils saw Sheffield City Council effectively regain its county borough status.

In 2004, the local wards were completely reorganised, producing 28 new wards and 84 councillors.

In April 2014, the Sheffield City Council voted to recognize the right to self-determination of Somaliland, an autonomous region in northwestern Somalia, the first city council to do so. The gesture is purely ceremonial and carries no legal weight.[1] The UK government and the international community officially recognise Somaliland as a part of Somalia.

In August 2019, a governance petition was submitted to the council, asking for a referendum on changing the council's governance system.[2] The petition, organised by the Sheffield community group It's Our City!, was signed by over 26000 people (approximately 6.6% of the Sheffield City Council electorate). In September 2019 this petition was accepted as valid under the provisions of the Localism Act 2011, forcing the council to hold a referendum on changing the council's executive arrangements from the Leader and Cabinet system to a Committee system.[3] The referendum was postponed from May 2020 (due to the COVID-19 pandemic) and took place on 6 May 2021, with 65% voting for change to a Committee system.[4]

Political control

Main article: Sheffield City Council elections

For twenty years from 1846, Isaac Ironside's Central Democratic Association was a force on the council. It then returned to typical ConservativeLiberal rivalry.

The Labour Party made little impact in its early years; by 1918, there were only three Labour councillors (and two Liberal-Labour, plus one Lib-Lab alderman). That all changed in 1919, when Labour won almost all the seats up for election that year, giving them 12 councillors and their coalition partners the Co-operative Party two. In response to their losses, the Conservative and Liberal groups merged to form the Citizens Association, retaining control with 32 councillors and 15 aldermen. The Lib-Labs remained unchanged in numbers and politically between the two groups.[5]

In the following years, Labour continued to advance at the expense of the Citizens Association. By 1922, there were 18 Labour councillors and one alderman; by 1925, 22 councillors and one alderman. At the 1926 elections, Labour rose to 29 councillors. A majority on the council and a large number of retiring aldermen finally enabled them to take 8 positions on the aldermanic bench.[5]

The seats were redistributed into 24 wards in 1930, and the Citizens Association renamed itself the Progressive Party. A further seat was added for Norton in 1934, taking the total number of positions to 75 councillors and 25 aldermen. That year, Labour briefly lost control, but regained it in 1934, with an increased majority of 12. This rose to 14 the following year. In 1945, Labour had 59 total seats to the Progressive's 39, one independent and one Communist. Labour continued to build its majority, to 34 in 1952 and 42 by 1958.[5] However, it lost control to the Conservative Party, again standing on its own, in 1968-9.

The Council was reorganised under the Local Government Act 1972 and in 1974, Aldermen were abolished, with elections to Sheffield City Council moving to 'thirds', and elections three years of every four, with terms lasting four years.

Despite these changes the council remained under Labour control until 1999, when the Liberal Democrats took control of the council. The Labour Party regained control of the Council in 2002 with power shifting back to the Liberal Democrats in 2008. During this period there were three years of No Overall Control; from 2002–03 (Labour Minority), 2007–08 (Labour Minority) and 2010–11 (Liberal Democrat Minority). However, Labour took control once again in 2011.

Following the 2021 elections the Council is now in No Overall Control.


A list of leaders of Sheffield City Council from 1901.[6]

Leaders and control since 1974

Name Years Control
George Wilson 1974–1980 Labour
David Blunkett 1980–1987
Clive Betts 1987–1992
Mike Bower 1992–1998
Jan Wilson 1998–1999
Peter Moore 1999–2002 Liberal Democrats
Jan Wilson 2002–2003 No Overall Control
2003–2007 Labour
2007–2008 No Overall Control
Paul Scriven 2008–2010 Liberal Democrats
2010–2011 No Overall Control
Julie Dore 2011–2021 Labour
Bob Johnson 2021
Terry Fox 2021 – No Overall Control (LabourGreen Cooperative)

Council as service provider and employer

Sheffield City Council provides approximately 550 services to its citizens. It is also a major employer in the city, with more than 8,000 employees, including all state school staff in its role as Local Education Authority (LEA). In April 2021 the Sheffield Star published a list of seven Council employees earning more than £100k-a-year.[7]

Services and employees are organised into four portfolios:[8]

Other functions are performed by partners and contractors of the council:[9]

See also


  1. ^ "Somaliland Hails British Step Forward in Independence Bid". VOA. 5 April 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  2. ^ "Sheffield City Council's deputy leader quits over referendum calls".
  3. ^ "Democracy petition forces Sheffield to hold referendum".
  4. ^ "Sheffield City Council Governance Referendum". Sheffield Council. Retrieved 17 October 2021.
  5. ^ a b c J. Mendelson, W. Owen, S. Pollard and V. M. Thornes, The Sheffield Trades and Labour Council 1858 – 1958
  6. ^ Clyde Binfield et al., The History of the City of Sheffield 1843–1993. Volume I: Politics
  7. ^ Bent, Lloyd (7 April 2021). "The seven workers who earn over £100k-a-year at Sheffield city council – full list". Sheffield Star. Retrieved 8 April 2021.((cite web)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  8. ^ "Management Team". Sheffield City Council. Archived from the original on 3 December 2013.
  9. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 29 November 2013. Retrieved 29 November 2013.((cite web)): CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)