British Paralympic Association Nick Webborn

Convene Customer Success

British Paralympic Association

We spoke to Adrian Stockman at the British Paralympic Association to discuss how Convene increased the efficiency and effectiveness of their meetings.

Image: Nick Webborn, Chair.

"This Board is the ninth board I’ve worked with and this one is the best one I’ve worked on. Convene has had a big part to play in this because Convene almost forces improvements in business process."


The British Paralympic Association is the National Paralympic Committee for Great Britain and is responsible for the United Kingdom's participation in the Paralympic Games.
Please describe your Board and Senior level management structure

We have a Board of eleven trustees, all of whom are voluntary and come together for five meetings a year. We also have twelve sub committees, some of which are very active in some specific areas for example remuneration, risk, social impact, who either meet four times a year or when there is a specific need.

Easy agenda management

Before Convene, a big issue was that people on the Board were receiving a barrage of emails with numerous attachments. It was hard to tell which attachment related to which agenda point, and it was easy to miss important information. Similarly, if a member received an email with a large number of attachments - unless you happen to be a very organised person - it can be overwhelming. Wading through them, only to discover that only 2 or 3 relate to your own role, is hugely frustrating and time wasting.

There are around sixteen to seventeen Board papers for members to sift through and read. There is always a busy and varied agenda, so this means that meetings need to be as efficient as possible.

Convene’s Agenda Builder will only allow agenda items to be displayed as a standalone point with the relevant paper attached. Board members are now able to quickly access a specific item if it holds particular interest/ relevance to them so we are making significant time savings enabling us to focus on mission critical work.

Better board pack preparation

Previously, there was often a rush to get papers submitted by deadlines, which could result in incomplete drafts being ready in time for meetings. Because of this, there would often be late changes where trustees had to be instructed to ignore the old version of a paper that had been fully or partly amended and replaced by a new one. Board members became frustrated and their partnership with us was hindered by faults in the process.

Convene has engendered an enforced discipline as the option to publish meetings only once everything was successfully compiled meant that we were able to wait until we were sure that everyone’s papers had been submitted. As a direct result, the CEO who has final sign off before anything can be published, is now able to do so secure in the knowledge that he is signing off the final version.

How has Convene helped you as far as security is concerned?

There have not been any “serious” security issues to speak of, but we do of course handle confidential information and email attachments are not secure so Convene has provided us with added security. Having it ring fenced behind a portal is critical.

How have your users taken to Convene?

Early on we had some slightly more traditional members who were reluctant to engage with the system, but they responded to the positive comments made by other more technically oriented trustees when we requested them to do so. Some needed some hand holding and we arranged one to one session with them, and they are now happy users.

Board members and trustees have said how easy it is to work with. There are no longer high volumes of emails to wade through. It was impossible for them to engage when they had to go through one email at a time and open each attachment. Convene now provides a single message saying this meeting has now been published, they acknowledge the meeting, what they do is either click instantly onto the portal or they allocate a slot in their diary to access what they need knowing that it’s all there.

The days of needing to wade through a deluge of information prior to meetings are over thanks to Convene which now makes it possible for us to hold streamlined meetings. Board members have said that they are finding they have greater time and efficiency with Convene and I am no longer involved with base level administration and ad hoc queries and questions that go along with it. It has made it possible for me to concentrate on the Director level work focussed on governance.

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