FOR the next eight weeks the county council will be asking people across Gloucestershire to give their views on a significant change in direction for the council.

As part of this consultation the council is looking to recruit more residents to join a citizen’s board, coined the People's Panel. Members of the panel will be asked to give their views on services and issues affecting them in their local area. This could be via online and postal surveys, local events and occasionally face-to-face focus groups.

The council seeks views on a variety of topics from caring for the vulnerable to highway schemes, road maintenance and transport provision. Its current key consultation, Meeting the Challenge – Together we can, will look at a fundamental re-think of how support is delivered to individuals, families and communities.

Social care – support for vulnerable adults and children - is the council’s biggest job and accounts for almost two thirds of the annual budget. Whilst Gloucestershire has consistently protected spending on social care; as health services improve and people live longer, the council now needs to help more people than ever.

The council wants to know what people think about proposals to move away from a one size fits all approach to help more people to live fulfilled independent lives in their own communities.

Cllr Mark Hawthorne, leader of Gloucestershire County Council, said: “You don’t need to be on the People’s Panel to have your say on our Meeting the Challenge. However, this is a great time to become part of a panel of people who really can help us shape the future of the county council.

“We are encouraging everyone who is eligible, regardless of their background and where they are from in the county to have their say. By signing up you will help to ensure that council decisions are representative of a wide cross section of the community.”

All residents aged 16 or above and living in Gloucestershire are eligible to join the panel, excluding council officers and councillors at anytime.

The recruitment process and ongoing running of the panel will be carried out by Opinion Research Services (ORS), an independent organisation. To sign up visit: