"South Ayrshire Council wants to have the best housing service in Scotland."
That's the ambitious message from Councillor Douglas Campbell, Portfolio Holder for Housing, as the Council agreed to adopt a new Tenant Participation Strategy, aimed at improving service development, communications and performance.
In developing the strategy, South Ayrshire Council appointed the independent Tenant Participation Advisory Service (TPAS) to make sure tenants were fully involved in the process.
The new strategy will put tenants firmly at the heart of the Council's decision making processes by creating opportunities for involvement in housing service delivery and for influencing Council policy.
Councillor Campbell said: "We want to make our services better and that can best be achieved by involving and listening to our tenants.
"We've created three groups that are open to all tenants and will meet four times a year. I'd urge everyone with an interest to get fully involved. The next meeting will be on 7th June at Ayr Town Hall between 1.30pm and 3.30pm.
"Interested tenants who would like to be involved in scrutinising how the Council housing service performs, what services we should provide and helping us to get it right for the future are welcome to attend.
"The groups will operate flexibly, with convenient meeting dates and venues being accessible to all. They will also work together, rather than independently, with all tenant input in each area being considered across the board.
"We issued 8,300 survey forms, held ten tenant feedback sessions, including one with homeless people and the strategy was issued to all tenant and resident groups for comment. The final strategy reflects input from all of these channels."
The new strategy will operate until 2015 when there will be a further review.
Housing publications, updates, bulletins on ongoing work and website information will now be covered by the Communications Group who will make sure Council publications are regular, relevant and easy to understand.
The opportunity to influence how housing services are delivered in the future, including monitoring the Housing Business Plan, looking at new procedures and service improvements and, possibly tenant led inspections will be the remit of the Service Development Group.
The Performance Group will help the Council look at different areas of performance such as repairs, empty houses, homelessness and void allocations.
Councillor Campbell continued: "A lot has changed since 2003 when we last looked at the way we involve tenants.
"Feedback has been very positive and we've actively listened to all the ideas, suggestions and proposals that have come forward, incorporating the best of these into the new strategy.
"I am confident the adoption of our new Tenant Participation Strategy will have a positive and ongoing impact on how housing services are delivered.
"And, with the participation and support of our tenants, I firmly believe we can achieve the goal of having the best housing service in Scotland by 2015."