The UDA's political representatives and PSNI chief constable Sir Hugh Orde have met in Belfast.
The delegates discussed the £1.2m grant to transform the UDA
Senior UDA figures such as Jackie McDonald rubbed shoulders with police and NIO officials at the one-day conference held at a hotel.
It is part of a government-funded plan to move the UDA away from paramilitary activity and crime.
Sir Hugh said it was too early to say whether loyalist criminality had been reduced.
He said he was waiting for the next report from ceasefire watchdog the Independent Monitoring Commission, due in the next four weeks.
Among the items under discussion were problems within loyalist communities and how best to spend the £1.2m the government has given to a project to transform the UDA.
The four main churches were also represented at the conference.
Speaking earlier, conference chairman Sir George Quigley said loyalists were genuine in their attempts to quit crime.
The former Ulster Bank chairman said: "They are determined to do what they can from within the loyalist community to transform that situation and help create a much more stable and peaceful society.
"All of us have a stake in the success of what's being attempted.
"We have got to buckle down and see how we can help the constructive elements within that society to move forward."
BBC Northern Ireland's home affairs correspondent Vincent Kearney said it was the first time loyalists have taken part in such an event.
"The organisers say it is a sign that they are serious about wanting to change," he said.
The event is part of moving loyalists away from violence
"The fact that senior civil servants will also attend signals that they also believed they are genuine - but there are many sceptics who have yet to be convinced."
Barney McGaughey - chairman of west Belfast community organisation Farset - said the workshop was a serious attempt by those within loyalism to engage and improve the lives of the people living within their communities.
The UPRG's Frankie Gallagher said he believed work being done in the communities was making a difference.
"The work that we have been doing has added to the political climate that we are enjoying today," he said.
"Our influence at the interface areas, where we have managed to keep tensions calm, has helped play its part in the process.
"We have been working hard on the ground over the years to free our communities from criminality and there has been some success.
"But there are still challenges that need to be addressed and today's workshop is about facing these challenges head on and working to build a new future not just for loyalist communities, but as part of a new vision for Northern Ireland."