Councillors have agreed the way forward
South Ayrshire Councillors have agreed the strategic objectives that will be used to create a new Council Plan and establish a clear and ambitious direction future for the Council over the next five years.
The objectives – agreed at a meeting of South Ayrshire Council – are designed to make a difference for people and communities and provide a focus for how Council services will be delivered, based on the needs of individual people.
The ambitious objectives include taking direct and sustained actions that reduce poverty and disadvantage, creating a better health and care system to suit local people's needs, making the most of the local economy, and increasing the profile and reputation of the Council and South Ayrshire.
Councillor Douglas Campbell, Leader of the Council, said the agreed objectives will ensure the Council makes a difference where its services are needed most – particularly in relation to supporting young people and the most vulnerable in our communities.
He added: "Our next Council Plan needs to ensure that we're focused, fit for purpose and a force to be reckoned with in making a positive difference in people's lives.
"To ensure we achieve this, we need to take a look at why we do what we do – not just how we do it – so that we genuinely transform services and make a positive impact where it's needed most. Regardless of what service we are talking about, our most important job is looking after people and that's what we need to focus on – helping people, but in a different way.
"While these are high-level objectives at this stage, they provide a definitive road-map for where we want to go. For example, in taking action to reduce poverty and disadvantage, we want to close the poverty attainment gap by 2030 and adopt the use of schools as real community hubs that aren't just a place for learning, but provide partnership-based community services that support children and families in need.
"We also want to invest in infrastructure and make a long-lasting impact on our towns and villages, dealing with some of the long-standing issues they have raised over a number of years. This will help ensure our towns are vibrant and inviting centres that offer a variety of retail, leisure and visitor opportunities and are supported by strong and viable villages.
"However, it's not just about what we will do – it's also about what our communities can do to help and support themselves and a big part of our job is helping them to realise that.
"The backbone of all of this will be a strong and productive workforce, working day in and day out to deliver quality services that really do make life better, and I look forward to seeing all of this come together in the new Council Plan."
At the meeting, Councillors also reviewed the Council's performance in 2016/17 towards achieving the strategic objectives and outcomes within the current Council Plan.
Highlights included an increase in visitor spend; a positive trend in exam results; more adults and older people receiving intensive care at home; an increase in the number of people using the Council's pools and indoor sports facilities; positive trends in the percentage of roads requiring maintenance treatment and street cleanliness; and improvements in the condition of the Council's operational buildings and staff absence.
Areas for improvement included supporting children and young people living in areas of relatively high deprivation to do as well as those in more affluent areas; increasing the percentage of unpaid carers feeling supported to continue in their caring role; ensuring adults have the opportunity to influence decisions affecting their local area; increasing household waste recycling; and improving the Council's buildings and ICT infrastructure and systems.
Councillor Campbell concluded: "This latest performance report shows that significant progress continues to be made across the Council; however, we are very clear about where we need to do more and where we need to do better – and that will very much be the focus of our next Council Plan, which is a life-changing opportunity to better shape how our Council works for our people and communities for years to come."
Details of the strategic objectives approved for the new Council Plan are available in A Programme for Effective Governance 2017-2022.
The latest performance data is available in 2016/17 Performance Against the Council Plan.