18 February 2016

The State of Sheffield Report is commissioned annually by Sheffield Executive Board (SEB) to provide an overview of the city and to identify major challenges and opportunities. The 2016 report, the fifth report produced for SEB, analyses publicly available data to provide an assessment of trends over the last five years and more, and what these mean for Sheffield.

It will be launched at a conference on Thursday 18 February with speakers:

• Lord Blunkett, Chair of Sheffield Executive Board;
• Councillor Julie Dore, Leader of Sheffield City Council.
• Gordon Dabinett, Professor for Regional Studies at the University of Sheffield and co-author of the report; and
• Sharon Squires, Director of Sheffield First Partnership.

This year the challenges identified are also being addressed against the background of proposed new forms of leadership and governance – a Sheffield City Region Mayor, a Combined Authority, Devolution and the Northern Powerhouse – and the report reflects on how this background impacts on the city.

Incoming Chair of the Sheffield Executive Board Lord David Blunkett of Brightside and Hillsborough; “I was very pleased to accept when Cllr Julie Dore invited me to be the independent Chair of the Sheffield Executive Board, and look forward to taking forward its impressive work. We are in the throes of eye watering austerity and we need to mobilise good will in Sheffield, and to find new ways of commissioning and delivering services and initiatives has to be a priority.

“Sheffield First Partnership aims to use this report to explore what is working well and what is not. No one else is doing this. We are looking at the city’s strengths and challenges in order to mobilise the city as a whole. This is not someone else’s job.

“Work is already going on with cooperation from academia and training providers, and there is a real energy behind the Fair Employers Charter headed up by Hugh Facey, of Gripple UK. Also the introduction of Sheffield Money last year is an effective way of freeing people from debt.

“Low wages affect spending power that in turn affects the dynamic of the local economy and if we don’t tackle that it will affect growth. If we are able to increase the added value through the fairness initiative we can directly affect the growth potential.”

Sharon Squires, Director Sheffield First Partnership; “The State of Sheffield report is important because it gives us an independent analysis of how the city is doing. This year’s report is, in my opinion, mainly good news. Statistics on the economy, education, health, employment, and population growth all indicate improvements over the past five years. But the report is also challenging; inequality is widening with growing numbers of people experiencing financial insecurity. And providing high quality affordable housing, and good jobs remain key challenges for the city. The city and city region are at the forefront of change, driving devolution and establishing a new Combined Authority. We are therefore well positioned to work together to accelerate progress and address inequality.

Neill Birchenall, Vice Chair of Sheffield Executive Board and Director of city-based Birchenall Howden IT Consultants and Engineers: “Consistent and timely reporting is vital to the success of any organisation, and a city is no different. Now, with five years of the State of Sheffield Report, we can start to identify trends and position the city to take advantage of every future opportunity.

“In the business sector, reports like this give us relevant information on factors such as livability and employment – two areas where Sheffield continues to perform above the national average. As our city’s businesses continue to attract skilled staff who want to live and work in the area, these reports are invaluable when communicating to those outside the city region looking to relocate.

“The report shows that we have made some headway with creating businesses, but we need more investment to grow them in the city and to encourage and facilitate more export both regionally and nationally. I know that Sheffield is heading in the right direction but this report proves it.”

Prof Gordon Dabinett, Professor for Regional Studies at the University of Sheffield and co-author of the report; “The report is not a performance review and not a commentary on Government policy. It is raising questions about the state of Sheffield, providing a common platform to discuss what we should be doing.

“The concept of the city region is at the heart of moves towards devolution and new decision-making structures – and the latest State of Sheffield report aims to provide the information on which decisions can be made.

“Most things don’t change year by year. At a minimum it is five years, mostly 20 years. Many of the things we see are the legacy of past behaviour and structures such as industrial decline. And there is a warning against simplifying findings in the report, such as poor health in the elderly population. This is a national issue. The majority of older people are very active. We hear about the minority. And young people have illnesses, too. The big message is to support active ageing.

“Issues can be complicated and are often interlinked – between unemployment and housing, for example. There are also national factors, notably the impact of the financial crisis of 2007-08, and it is very difficult to compare city with city.

“At the same time, trends can be identified, such as a growing need to help people with mental health problems. Yet things can change quickly. A breakthrough in medical treatment can have a major impact on an aspect of public health, for example.”

So what does the report tell us?

Positive findings are that Sheffield remains resilient and well placed to meet the challenges at a time of great change; the economy has strengthened and continues to grow, there are more jobs and apprenticeships, residents are living longer, the population is growing plus there are better results being seen in some aspects of education. The Report also points out that the importance of Sheffield as the economic core of the region, strengthening the case for the HS2 station in the city centre.

However Sheffield continues to face major challenges such as meeting the increasing demands of a growing population with regards to housing, health and education at a time of further public spending cuts. There is a need to balance the demands of younger and older generations. ‘Unacceptably poor’ air quality, primarily due to traffic congestion continues to be an issue. Also people are living longer and although active require more health services. And figures on average monthly pay are below the national average. None of these challenges are unique to Sheffield but the report highlights the areas that need attention now.

Main points:

• Sheffield continues to grow as a city with 563,700 people living here in 2014, and it is becoming increasingly diverse and cosmopolitan
• Gross Value Added (GVA) and GVA per head have grown in Sheffield and the City Region between 2003 and 2013 and on this basis, the city and region show an equivalent or higher rate of economic growth than other city regions. (But this comes from a low base: Sheffield City Region has the lowest GVA per head of all comparator areas and other city regions).
• Sheffield has a better performance on employment than most other major UK cities, but wages remain low relative to national averages and other Core Cities.
• The 2015 Indices of Deprivation indicate that Sheffield is becoming more polarised, with more people in the city living in the most deprived areas and more people living in the most affluent areas.
• Sheffield children are making progress in Early Years, Key Stage 2 and GCSE attainment; gaps to the national average still exist, though in some cases these are starting to close.
• Youth unemployment remains a challenge, with the June 2015 rate of 24.3% above the national average and the highest of all core cities, driven by high female youth unemployment. That being said, Sheffield and its City Region are making big strides in developing skills through apprenticeships, and there is evidence that young people in SCR are better prepared for work than elsewhere.
• More Sheffield young people from all parts of the city are gaining a place at a university, and the job market for new graduates in Sheffield is better than it has been since 2007
• Life expectancy has improved for Sheffield residents, and the gap between male (78.8 years) and female (82.4 years) figures has narrowed to 3.5 years.
• Healthy life expectancy has improved for men to 61 years, but has fallen for women from 61 years in 2009-11 to 59 years in 2011-13.
• There are increasing mental and emotional health needs in young people and women in Sheffield, matching national trends and linked strongly with deprivation and health inequality.

Critical areas of focus for Sheffield as it plans for the future:

• As a growing city, Sheffield needs to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population in a context of public services austerity, and the need to attract and retain a balanced population.
• To remain a young and vibrant city, Sheffield needs to accelerate the improvements it is making in the education and skills arena, and it needs to work to reduce gaps in performance that exist across the city. The city also needs to ensure older people get the services they need, and that young people, black & minority ethnic people and women are more able to access better quality employment.
• There are encouraging signs for Sheffield’s future economy, but growth needs to be accelerated, and consideration needs to be given to the city’s relationship with the City Region in this context.
• Sheffield needs to work together better so that the city can become a fairer and more just place, looking at both in-work and out-of-work poverty as issues that threaten the future success of the city.
• Sheffield’s environment remains a major asset, as outlined in the new Outdoor City Strategy; the city needs to ensure it is maintained, so questions of sustainability are crucial to Sheffield’s future.

To download a copy of the State of Sheffield 2016 Report, please go to www.sheffieldfirst.com Sheffield First Partnership has once again collaborated with Sheffield Hallam University Graphic Design course final year students and Sheffield College photography students to produce the report.

Paul Chamberlain, Head of Art & Design centre:
“Design students from Sheffield Hallam have a strong relationship with the State of Sheffield Report and we are once again pleased to be able to contribute. The designs by our students will be seen by thousands of people across the Sheffield City Region and it goes further to emphasis the talent we have at Hallam”

Paul Corcoran, Chief Executive, The Sheffield College, said: “It is vital that education providers work with employers to ensure young people get the skills and qualifications that meet regional economic growth needs and which lead onto apprenticeships and into employment. This report recognises some great progress has been made, and we are committed to building on that.”


For more information please contact:
Surriya Falconer, Falconer Associates – T: 0114 236 2494; M: 07770 415262

Editors Notes:

Sheffield First Partnership (SFP) brings together organisations and individuals from across Sheffield to address some of the key issues and opportunities facing the City.

The partnership is led by Sheffield Executive Board (SEB), where leaders from across the public, private, voluntary, community and faith sectors in the city meet on a regular basis with a focus on ‘making the right things happen for Sheffield’.

The SEB’s work is framed by the Sheffield City Strategy (Sheffield 2020), which sets out the long-term vision for Sheffield as a city of global significance.

To test how well Sheffield is progressing towards the ambitions set out in the City Strategy, the SEB prepares the annual State of Sheffield report. This outlines social, economic and environmental trends and performance in the city and is used to help SEB set annual priorities that require a whole city approach.

The State of Sheffield 2016 Report is commissioned by Sheffield First Partnership for Sheffield Executive Board. It is produced by the Director of Sheffield First Partnership Sharon Squires who summarises the report. The independent review of data used in the report is researched and processed by Professor Gordon Dabinett of the University of Sheffield’s Department of Town & Regional Planning, and Andi Walshaw and Nicola McHugh of Sheffield City Council’s Knowledge & Research Team.