Public sector organisations in Wales should learn from each other - that was the message at a conference recently hosted by Denbighshire County Council in Llangollen.
Delegates from public sector organisations across Wales attended the Learning for Change conference at Llangollen Pavilion and heard from the council about Denbighshire's experiences of managing the challenges faced by the authority following a critical Estyn inspection report in 2007 and a Corporate Governance report in 2008.
The Council's Leader, Councillor Hugh Evans and Chief Executive, Dr Mohammed Mehmet spoke about the "dark days" and how the council worked on transforming its culture, communication, performance management and its scrutiny processes following the publication of both reports.
Keynote speaker at the event was Lesley Griffiths AM, Minister for Local Government who outlined the current challenges facing the public sector in Wales.
The other presenter was Steve Thomas, Chief Executive of the Welsh Local Government Association, who spoke about Denbighshire's experience and the national picture of the public sector in Wales.
Councillor Hugh Evans, said: "It was a good opportunity for us to share our journey of improvement, but to also learn from other organisations about the challenges they have faced and their approach to managing their reputations and making changes to their services.
"I became Leader of the council at the start of our journey in Denbighshire. We were clear from day one that things needed to change and we have focussed on a change in culture, improved leadership and a focus on performance and self-evaluation. We now have mechanisms in place to improve services and to monitor progress through service challenges and our political scrutiny system."
Mohammed Mehmet said: "Wales is a small nation and we should be sharing best practice and learning from each other. This is even more important during times of change and uncertainty.
"Denbighshire has certainly gone through significant change and has transformed its way of working over recent years. Regulators tell public sector organisations they should learn from each other- that message came across clearly at the conference. Now we need to make that vision a reality - for the greater good of the public sector in Wales."
The Minister, Lesley Griffiths, said: “Since becoming the Minister for Local Government and Government Business, I have stressed the importance of sharing best practice across the public sector. It is a challenging time for public services but it is also a time of opportunity to consider new ways of working and new approaches to delivering services.
“During my visits across all 22 Local Authorities last summer, I saw many examples of innovative services and was impressed by the vision underpinning them.
“The examples I saw involved Local Authorities working with partners and citizens to create new approaches focusing on prevention, quicker action and more tailored service delivery. They also involved good collaboration within organisations.
“Local Government is at the frontline of providing everyday services for our communities. Delivering the transformational change to sustain services and deliver better outcomes for people and communities. The conference provided the platform for us to learn from each other, share experiences and discuss best practice.
“I congratulate and thank Denbighshire County Council for arranging this conference, to enable shared learning on such a large-scale.”