The message was clear. Now is the time to step up to the plate and work closer together to support each other and communities.
Speaking at the Leadership Forum on 16 June, Karen Algie, Director of Transformation, Communities and Corporate Services, told managers that everyone had a responsibility to "find solutions and avoid putting up barriers".
She said: “Communities don't want to know which service is doing what. They want a seamless service, and it is our job to ensure that they get that. That is why we need to understand and deliver on our strategic plans and be open and honest with each other, in a constructive way, to find solutions to the challenges we face.
“We need to be receptive to the ideas of others. That could mean we end up doing things in a totally different way, and we all need to be open to that. Only by listening to other voices and working together with communities and partners will we deliver services that people need.”
“Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much” - Helen Keller
With collaboration the theme of the forum, managers were split into breakout sessions to discuss good practice and provide examples of how they and their teams currently embrace working with others.
The groups were also asked to discuss what excellent, not just good, collaborative work looked like and list what needed to be done to achieve that across the Council.
Karen said: “There is a lot of aspiring and good practice across the Council but there is always more that we can do to get better at this - and our Best Value report recognised that fact. As officers we all need to be working towards excellent.”
“If everyone is moving forward together, then success takes care of itself” - Henry Ford
Having visited Street Cleansing that morning, Kenneth Lawrie, Chief Executive, told the group that he had heard how every manager, operative and Trade Union representative had been involved in the digital transformation of the service.
He said: “They worked together. Had open discussions about the changes that needed to be made, not just to get buy-in but also to provide a safe space where all views were valid. Because everyone felt informed and heard, change was easier to undertake, and they are reaping the benefits.”
He also spoke about his optimism for the future and the fact Elected Members appeared more open to collaboration.
He said: “We have a real opportunity to strengthen how we work together. Everyone in this forum needs to ensure they are stepping up into that space to support collaborative working. These opportunities don’t come around very often. We need to seize them when they do.”
Outputs from the Leadership Forum will be shared with participants and the Corporate Management Team. If you would like a copy, please email email@example.com