June 2014

June 13, 2014


The Chief Constable asked me to help him with the appointment of his Assistant Chief Constable and I was pleased to accept. Apart for supporting partners, this is a really useful way of learning because organisations have different ways of doing things and you can always pick up tips for your own work place. I think the Police’s system is far more efficient than ours. There were only three of us on the panel, advised by a senior HR colleague. Of course there was work done to research the candidates and obtain references from reliable sources, but the short listing and appointment process was much quicker than making a similar appointment in local government. An excellent appointment was made.

We had the European Elections recently and conducted the count in Ruthin. On this occasion the voting took place on Thursday but the count had to wait until Sunday because many European countries were conducting their elections on Sunday and we all had to start the count at the same time. We had to lock up the ballot boxes in a safe place between Thursday night and Sunday evening and while we were pretty confident of our arrangements there was always a niggling worry, at least in my head, that a major disaster would occur and all or some of the ballot boxes would be lost. Everything went very smoothly on the day and our staff were complimented by all the political parties.

Following the Council’s successful Learning Conference in April there have been some interesting developments. A number of our officers and members have been asked to speak at other events about good practice in Denbighshire. I’m very keen on sharing good practice because I think Wales needs to do a lot more of it. It’s also very good for our Council’s reputation. I have personally been asked to offer advice on various corporate matters to two other Councils. I always note the learning from these experiences and bring ideas back to Denbighshire. I was really impressed, for example, by Monmouthshire’s flexible working arrangements for staff.

I would describe myself as a semi-competent DIY person. I have recently decorated my daughter’s room. I know that’s not impressive but while taking the wallpaper off chunks of plaster also came off too! So I turned to my iPAD and watched a few YouTube videos and taught myself how to do patch up plastering. The results were outstanding. Well, let’s say acceptable if you hang a picture on that area!

March 2014

April 10, 2014

This month I was delighted to meet the seven construction companies who have been successful in being added to the North Wales approved list for delivering an ambitious £200m programme of improvements to our schools. I was really impressed with the commitment and vision of these companies, four of which are based in the region, and feel really excited that this will make a transformational difference to the quality of our school facilities over the next few years.

I visited the North Wales Women’s centre in Rhyl to see the excellent work they do and attended, with other CEOs, a lunch meeting with the Permanent Secretary, Derek Jones to discuss some key issues facing the public sector. There was a bit of laughter when we noticed that our meeting was being filmed, having agreed it would be ‘Chatham House Rules’!

The Leader of the Council and I have completed a round of staff roadshows on ‘Sharpening our Act’ and I have spoken about the same issues to all our middle managers. These sessions are crucially important because staff must be given the opportunity to understand why further change is necessary.

I had a little scare about my dog, Coco. We usually go for a long walk on Saturday’s on the hills and she sometimes disappears into the woods to search for things. Well, she came back with her tail between her legs, really quiet and blood poring out of her mouth. She then wouldn’t eat or drink and we ended up at the vets. It seems a sharp object had caused damage to her throat so she had to have three different injections to reduce the pain and help with the healing. She’s started eating now so getting back to normal.



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