This was my first IIMC conference and I hope it is not my last. It was a pleasure and privilege to be able to represent ADSO at the conference.
There were a number of highlights. Firstly, the people. The atmosphere was relaxed and friendly whilst professional. The range of staff was also interesting and well balanced. The training sessions were open to all and there was something for everyone. I attended a number which I list below. As you will see, there was a good balance of personal development and technical sessions, all of them with something to offer.
- Parliamentary pickles: are you out or are you safe
- Uncrapify your life
- The authenticity advantage: how to fly your freak flag
- Threatening people, threatening times: safety through strategy and city hall
- In house problem solving: how to be your own consultant
- Migration and integration: the impact on local government
I just had to attend the first session listed. Those in the UK will know why! What amazed me was the overlap in issues. The session was run as an interactive workshop with common constitutional issues identified. Moving of motions, amendments and substantive motions – does that sound familiar!? I was in my element. I also established that there is an equivalent of Knowles across the pond. It is called “Robert’s Rules of Order” interestingly, it covers such things as virtual meetings…..I need a copy!! It made me realise how much we have in common and that we have transferable skills. The theme of my contribution, here.
The last session listed was on migration and integration, very well run by our Belgium friends from Regional XI – Ronny Frederickx, Tine Vervisch and Wim Van Der Schoot. It was hard hitting and thought provoking, covering the plight of refugees and how the Local Government community has responded across Europe. It highlighted some best practice. It was relevant if not very saddening. Again, relevant to us all.
One of things we have discussed at ADSO is the relevance of IIMC to us as members. We are exceptionally lucky to take advantage of the block membership scheme, which means that IIMC membership comes with our ADSO membership – a win, win scenario if ever there was one.
We discussed at our Region XI how we might go about explaining the relevance. For me, it is quite straight forward. As ADSO we try to promote best practice and learning across the country. It is one of our core objectives. We have built close relationship with SOLAR the Scottish representative body and SLCC.. There are opportunities to share learning, utilise training techniques. Basically, the IIMC enables to cast our networks further afield, with a ready made, identifiable, willing group of fellow networkers. That to me is good thing and an opportunity we should seize.
Finally, I also discussed the possibility of exchanges with some American colleagues, which I raised with the Chief Executive of IIMC, Chris Shalby. I think this is something that we should look at through the IIMC generally as well as our region.
Vice-Chair ADSO, UK, Region XI