It was my pleasure and privilege to be invited to present a walkthrough of the Knowledge Hub to some of our new UDiTE network members in Malaga, Spain, this weekend. As well as being welcomed into the group as a friend, it was great to meet colleagues involved in public services from all over Europe.
As we approach the European Union (EU) referendum in the UK, in what feels to me to be an increasingly eurosceptic climate, it was interesting to hear the views of colleagues in other European countries. They understand and share the anxieties that exist in the UK about migration and the refugee crisis among other things. And while there were mixed views on whether Britain should be in our out, what was clear was that collaboration across borders should not and must not stop whatever the outcome of the vote in June.
The opportunity for public service professionals within Knowledge Hub is great. Learning from each other and sharing best practice across geographical boundaries is at the heart of what Knowledge Hub does - and will continue to do - whether we are part of the EU or not.
I was particularly excited by opportunities that exist for local authorities in the UK to connect into projects and events around citizen participation in democracy, good local governance, strategic public risk management and generally explore new and innovative ways of working. We all have something to learn from each other and I am proud that Knowledge Hub makes that possible.
If you're interested in connecting with other public service professionals across Europe, I suggest you begin by joining the UDiTE Open Exchange platform, connecting with some of its members and maybe start a conversation or two. I'd like to hope that some of these conversations turn into important connections that generate real value for public organisations and - most importantly - for the communities they serve.
So, thank you once again to everyone who attended the UDiTE meeting this weekend for your generosity in welcoming me as part of your group. I hope you all will find value in using Knowledge Hub to connect with each other in between meetings and that you will also venture more widely than your own network to get involved in conversations across Knowledge Hub.
UDiTE is the European Federation of Local Government Chief Executives - find out more on the UDiTE website and the new UDiTE network on the Knowledge Hub.