South Ayrshire Council's first ever Public Processes Panel was held this week, with members making it clear that they will listen to what people have to say and carry out their scrutiny duties for the good of the people of South Ayrshire.
Councillor Brian McGinley, Chair of the Panel, said: "The panel has a wide remit, and it's our job to ensure that the decisions made by the Council are scrutinised and there is an opportunity for concerns from the public to be heard.
"This Panel provides the platform for us to make a real difference so that the best outcomes can be achieved throughout South Ayrshire."
The panel will consider issues referred for scrutiny, hear petitions/deputations from the public, consider public complaints handling, monitor the implementation of Council and Panel decisions, review engagement with Community Councils and other representative bodies, promote and maintain high standards of conduct by elected members, and recommend areas for the panel to review.
At their first meeting the panel demonstrated its commitment to listening to the people of South Ayrshire, when members took positive action following a petition from Maybole Community Council about day services for older people. Panel members gave their full and detailed consideration and agreed with the petitioners that the consultation undertaken regarding changes to day services had not been full enough."
The panel asked officers to bring a report back to the next meeting outlining ways in which the community council and other groups will be consulted and involved in future and to work with them to identify other potential facilities, within the Maybole area, which could be used for social and community care related activities. The panel also asked for further information on the transport arrangements of the current set-up, where service users attend day services in Girvan and further research is also to be undertaken on the service users' experiences to date.
The information gathered will be reported to the next meeting of the Panel in December 2014 for their consideration.
Councillor McGinley concluded: "Our panel is committed to ensuring that everything our organisation does is open and transparent and we fully engage with communities and take their views on board.
"If communities across South Ayrshire talk to us, we will listen and then make informed decisions once we have gathered all the facts and taken everyone's viewpoint and experience into account."