RefNoSYCC
TitleSouth Yorkshire County Council
AdminHistoryIn 1966 the Government set up a Royal Commission on Local Government in England, under the chairmanship of Lord Redcliffe-Maud. The Commission's report, known as the Redcliffe-Maud Report was published in 1969.

Following the Royal Commission's report, the Labour government published a White Paper on "Reform of Local Government in England" (1970). Neither the Redcliffe-Maud Report nor the White Paper referred to a South Yorkshire metropolitan area.

The Conservative Party, having assumed power in 1970 issued a new White Paper 'Local Government in England: Government Proposals for Reorganisation'. This included a metropolitan area covering South Yorkshire. The system of government however would be two tier, rather than Redcliffe-Maud's concept of unitary authorities. In addition to a new South Yorkshire County Council, the local authorities below that - Sheffield City Council and the Borough Councils at Barnsley, Doncaster and Rotherham (all of which would become Metropolitan District Councils) would remain, albeit with some of their responsibilities taken over by the County Council.

The South Yorkshire County Council was subsequently established under the Local Government Act of 1972. Just 12 years later, in 1986, metropolitan county councils were abolished by the Local Government Act of 1985. Barnsley, Doncaster, Rotherham and Sheffield Metropolitan District Councils became unitary authorities. The South Yorkshire Residuary Body, appointed to oversee the transfer of services in 1986 was wound up in 1989 under Statutory Instrument 1989 No. 814. The remnant of its duties were transferred to Rotherham Council.

The South Yorkshire County Council covered 1,550 square kilometres (600 square miles) and served a population of 1.3 million people, almost half of them living in Sheffield. The area's economy was based largely on coal, steel and engineering, though these were facing decline from mid to late 1970s.

The Council has 100 elected Members. County Hall was based in Barnsley.

In 1980 the parties were represented as follows:
Labour 62
Conservative 31
Ratepayer 4
Liberal 2
Independent 1

The Chief Executive in 1980 was F Mallett.

Full Council meetings followed a set procedure. After approving the previous meetings minutes the meeting considered letters or petitions from outside bodies which were usually referred to the relevant committee for detailed consideration. After that the Council dealt with the minutes of the committees, approving their actions, ratifying or amending their recommendations. If it was necessary to call the meeting to order, the Chair would stand. If the Chair was standing no one else could stand or speak.

In 1980 the main committees were:
Consumer Protection
Environment
Fire Service
Highways
Passenger Transport
Planning
Police
Policy
Recreation, Culture and Health

Consumer Protection:
Consumer protection was responsible for weights and measures [trading standards], the Trade Descriptions Act, the sale of food and drugs and the control and sale of dangerous and poisonous goods. County Council's acted as the Local Weights and Measures Authority as well as the Local Food and Drugs Authority.

Environment:
The Environment Committee was responsible for improving the physical aspects of the county, including waste disposal, building and monument conservation, the reclamation of derelict land, prevention of pollution, establishment of country parks and major open-air leisure facilities. Encampments and sites of gypsies and travellers also came with the remit of the Environment Committee.

Fire Service:
The Fire Service Committee acted as the Fire Authority. It also promoted public safety, oversaw controls relating to the storage of explosives, petroleum and other flammable substances.

Highways:
The Highways Committee looked after the highway network, traffic management, car parking facilities, road safety and engineering works.

Passenger Transport:
The Passenger Transport Committee set policy aims for the Passenger Transport Executive which ran the county's bus fleet.

Planning:
The Planning Committee was responsible for the preparation and review of structure plans and local plans prepared by the Council. It was also responsible for determining major planning applications and applications relating to mineral workings. It also commented on applications of strategic importance.

Police:
The Police Committee was responsible for maintaining an adequate and efficient police force.

Policy:
The Policy Committee made recommendations to the full Council on overall objectives, policies and priorities. It had a number of sub-committees including Land and Buildings; Personnel and Finance and General Purposes. Other sub-committees were responsible for the Council's budget, emergency plans, administering the County's Superannuation Fund, Employment Promotion, Development and Publicity.

Recreation, Culture and Health
The Recreation, Culture and Health Committee was concerned with leisure services and amenities, entertainments and social facilities. Responsibilities included footpaths and bridleways, archives (but not libraries), archaeology, tourism promotion, land drainage, wild life protection, animal welfare and controls relating to animal disease. It worked closely with local provision by the district councils.

The Joint Planning and Transportation sub-committee considered matters relating to planning and transportation and assessed the strategies and policies which affected plans. Members were from Policy, Highways, Planning and Passenger Transport committees.

The County Council provided administrative and financial support to the independent Probation Committee.

The Council had a Prosecuting Solicitors Department which advised the police and County Council Departments on criminal prosecutions.

In 1975 a joint committee was established to consider developing a country park at Rother Valley, a former National Coal Board opencast mining area. South Yorkshire and Derbyshire County Councils were the two principal authorities involved.

Following the inner city riots at Toxteth in Liverpool in 1981 South Yorkshire County Council established a £100,000 urban action programme for young people in an attempt to defuse tensions in the community.
Description1. Signed minutes of Council and Committees, 1973 - 1986 (SYCC/MIN)

2. Signed minutes of Sheffield and Rotherham Police Authority, 1967 - 1974 (SYCC/PAM)

3. Records of the former West Riding of Yorkshire County Council, 1889 - 1984 (SYCC/WRYCC)

4. Councillors' Papers (SYCC/CLLR)

5. Committees (Consumer Protection, Environment, Fire Service, Highways, Passenger Transport, Planning, Police, Policy, Recreation, Culture and Health), 1972 - 1986 (SYCC/CTTE)

6. Administration Department, 1968 - 1986 (SYCC/ADMIN)

7. Records of the Planning Department, 1974 - 1986 (SYCC/PL)

8. Planning Department's photographic collection, 1974 - 1986 (SYCC/P)

9. Records of the Joint Planning and Transportation Unit (JTPU), 1968 - 1986 (SYCC/JTPU)

10. Sheffield/Rotherham Land Use Transportation Study (LUTS), 1969 - 1981 (SYCC/LUTS)

11. Records of the Department of Recreation, Culture and Health, 1970 - 1986 (SYCC/REC)

12. National Association of Local Government Officers (NALGO) - South Yorkshire branch, 1974 - 1986 (SYCC/NALGO)
Date1883 - 1986
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Extentc.4,300 items
AccessStatusRestricted
AccessConditionsSome files include references to named individuals and their personal circumstances. Consequently these records are closed to public inspection for 100 years under the Data Protection Act (exempt under section 40 of the Freedom of Information Act). Please refer to Sheffield Archives for advice on how to access the restricted items.
LevelCollection
RelatedMaterialSheffield Archives:

Alan Clarke, The Rise and Fall of the Socialist Republic: a history of the South Yorkshire County Council, Sheaf Publishing: 1987 (CLA/LOCAL) (Sheffield Local Studies Library: 352.042 SQ)

Sheffield Local Studies Library:
Daisy C. E. Payling, 'Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire: activism in Sheffield in the 1970s and 1980s', University of Birmingham, unpublished Ph.D., Sep 2015.
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