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M A R C H 2 0 2 4

CAST

monthly newsletter

Now is the time for community-driven, people-powered change in South Tyneside.

In this issue:

Transforming

Democracy in

South Tyneside:

project details

released!

Community

Noticeboard

Citizens' Assembly

South Tyneside

Contact us:

southtyneside@assembly.org.uk

CITIZENSASSEMBLYST

@CITIZENSASSEMBLYST

Welcome to your

MARCH

newsletter

Transforming Democracy in South Tyneside -

TOGETHER!

April 6th @ South Shields Museum

(11am start) sees the launch of our

Transforming Democracy in South

Tyneside project to remodel political

representation in South Tyneside.

The Leader and Cabinet system

operated by South Tyneside Council

concentrates policymaking power into

the hands of just 10 Labour Party councillors - unless the

councillors you vote for are part of this group, they CANNOT

represent you.

Join us as we kick-off the campaign to change this! With guest

speaker, renowned local playwright Ed Waugh, presentations,

discussion topics and more. See for yourself how we can all

change our borough for the better. See pages 2 & 3 for more

information.

Can’t make this event? No problem!

We’ll be announcing more dates and venues as we take our

campaign on the road to cover the whole of the borough.

Don’t forget to register to vote!

The deadline to register to vote for the upcoming local and

mayoral elections on Thursday 2 May is Tuesday 16 April.

You MUST register if you want to vote.

Go to https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote to register or

update your details.

Don’t forget - you now need photo ID when you go to vote. The

deadline to apply for free voter ID for the elections on Thursday

2 May is 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

Go to https://bit.ly/4avi8tb for the full list of accepted ID.

Need ID? Go to https://bit.ly/4a6Iy4X and apply online.

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*https://portal.southtyneside.info/elections/LocalGovernment.aspx?id=40

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CAST

Citizens' Assembly South Tyneside

Transforming democracy in

South Tyneside together

Democracy in South Tyneside is disintegrating:

local election turnout = 30%*

Labour Party = 70%* of vote share

current Leader and Cabinet system = all decision-making power

concentrated in hands of 10 Labour Party councillors

elected councillors with no access to policymaking process = 77%

*Source: https://portal.southtyneside.info/elections/LocalGovernment.aspx?id=40

10 COUNCILLORS WITH 100% CONTROL OF

THE DECISION-MAKING PROCESSES IN

OUR BOROUGH?

DO YOU THINK THAT’S DEMOCRATIC?

NEITHER DO WE!

Join us @ South

Shields Museum from

10:45 and see that

TOGETHER we can fix

a broken system.

That’s why on 6th April

we’re putting forward

our proposal to

transform democracy

on South Tyneside.

NOW

Scan here or go to

https://bit.ly/49U2pUQ

for more details

is the time for community-driven,

people-powered change in South Tyneside!


Transforming democracy in South

Tyneside together

There’s a growing democratic deficit in South Tyneside.

In the May 2023 elections, turnout in nine out of the 18 council seats contested recorded a turnout of

under 30%, with Biddick & All Saints registering just over 23%*.

Although low turnouts are part of a national trend and there are many reasons behind low voter

participation, in our borough, the most common complaint is that South Tyneside Council is an

unrepresentative, remote body, failing to listen to or respond to resident’s concerns.

CAST believes that the Leader and Cabinet system, introduced via the Local

Government Act 2000, reinforces this problem.

All policymaking power is concentrated in the hands of 10 Labour Party

councillors - the Leader of the council and a selected team of 9 colleagues.

The other 44 councillors elected across South Tyneside have little to no input

in the decision-making process.

All decisions are made by this cabinet of 10 Labour Party councillors yet they

only have 70%* of the overall vote share in the borough.

So what are we proposing?

NOTHING RADICAL!

Simply a move from the current Leader and Cabinet model to a Committee system of policymaking at

South Tyneside Council. THAT’S ALL!

Further down the line, the creation of local citizens’ assemblies will give YOU the opportunity to deliberate

on local issues and put forward proposals for the changes YOU’D like to see in YOUR area.

What do we need to make it happen?

Local authorities have a legal requirement to hold a referendum if they receive a valid petition to change

council structure. The number of signatures needed is 5% of registered voters - for 2024, that’s 5658.

Will this solve all our borough’s problems?

The simple answer is no but it will bring different perspectives to the decision-making table. In the shortterm,

the Labour Party will still hold the majority however as the vote share changes, so will the

committees...and the policies.

Do we want to take over the council?

ABSOLUTELY NOT!

All we want is for elected councillors to be given the opportunity to do what they were elected to do -

represent their voters.

Are we working for or with any councillors?

AGAIN ABSOLUTELY NOT!

CAST is completely independent of ALL political parties. Our aim is simply to empower people to get

involved and improve our borough for each and every one of us.

We're not professional politicians, just local people with local aims - to generate positive, practical solutions

to the issues faced by our borough. We believe this change will increase voter participation and deliver the

genuine representation our community needs.

So what do we want from you?

Just your support and a signature on the petition!

Let’s make South Tyneside more representative together!

Join our campaign and change local government.

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*https://portal.southtyneside.info/elections/LocalGovernment.aspx?id=40

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CAST

community noticeboard

FREE KIDS EASTER HOLIDAY ACTIVITIES

The Holiday Activities and Food programme returns this Easter for

children and young people entitled to benefit-related free school meals.

The scheme runs across the borough from Tues. 2 - Sun. 14 April and

includes fun activities, opportunities to learn and develop skills plus a

nutritious meal each day.

Check if you’re eligible here

Check the list of activities here

RESEARCH PARTICIPANTS NEEDED!

Are you aged between 24-35?

Working in a job that isn’t permanent/your hours are always changing?

Working a fixed term, temporary, seasonal or zero hours contract, for an

app (eg. Deliveroo, Bolt, Stuart) or for a temp agency?

PhD researchers from Newcastle Uni want to hear from you!

With a £20 ‘thank you’ voucher and another for a follow up interview,

you can get more info here

TELL HEALTHWATCH ABOUT YOUR EXPERIENCES OF

DENTISTRY IN 2023

HealthWatch South Tyneside want to hear your experiences of NHS

dentistry to help them gather information for a piece of work for the

Healthwatch network.

Complete their short questionnaire here and be entered into a prize

draw to win £100 Love to Shop vouchers!

Good luck!

Do you have an issue you want to raise or discuss with your

local STC councillor?

Why not pop along to their regular surgery?

To get the dates and times for your councillor, simply select your

ward councillor from this list and scroll down or call the Town Hall

on 0191 427 1717 and ask for details.

(news)letters & links:

click the white links for more info

Whitburn Community

Library Dementia Cafe

Facebook flyer

Free ParkPlay @ Souter

Lighthouse

Flyer

Divest Tyne & Wear

Facebook page

ClimateReads Book Group webpage

Big River Makers Market

Facebook page

Save South Tyneside

Hospital Campaign

Facebook page

Tyne and Wear Centre

Against Unemployment

Facebook page

https://bit.ly/3ZDj2zI CITIZENSASSEMBLYST southtyneside@assembly.org.uk

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C A S T N E W S L E T T E R | I S S U E 4 4

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