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Transforming Democracy on South Tyneside together

On April 6th 2024, we launched our new Transforming Democracy in South Tyneside project to remodel political representation in South Tyneside. Watch our official project video promo here

We'll be announcing a programme of Transforming Democracy in South Tyneside roadshows across the borough together with short online sessions so everyone will get the chance to catch up with us! TOGETHER we can fix our broken system.


There’s a growing democratic deficit in South Tyneside.

In the May 2024 elections, turnout in seven 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 9 Labour Party councillors - the Leader of the council and a hand selected team of 8 colleagues.

The other 45 councillors elected across South Tyneside have little to no input in the decision-making process. All decisions are made by this cabinet of 9 Labour Party councillors yet they only have 52%* of the overall vote share in the borough.



So what are we proposing?


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 short-term, 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?


We COMPLETELY appreciate the pressures that the council is facing due to the cuts to central government funding and the continuing national policy of austerity, however it’s partly this lack of transparency and honesty on the part of the present council set-up that has led to the situation that it currently finds itself in.

All we want is for elected councillors to be given the opportunity to do what they were elected to do – to represent you - their voters.

Are we working for or with any councillors?


We're NOT professional politicians, we're NOT working FOR or WITH any local councillors, we're completely independent of ALL political parties. We'are just local people with local aims - to empower people to generate positive, practical solutions to the issues faced by our borough.

Our aim is simply to empower people to get involved and improve our borough for each and every one of us - 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!

If you want to get involved, just drop us an email here

Let’s make South Tyneside more representative together!

Join our campaign and change local government.