Convene Customer Success

Citizen Housing Group

Roxann Crouch - Governance Officer at Citizen Housing Group - gives us an overview on how they use Convene to enhance their entire meeting process to understand how Convene has ensured high levels of data security for their Board and Committees

"Convene has helped to transform how we run our meetings especially in regard to the ability to run both online and offline."


How often have you been using Convene?

Our main Board meets 6-7 times per year plus two Away Days. Under the main Board we have six committees. The Board members are the Chairs for the Committees. Our Citizen New Homes Board and Audit and Risk Committee each meet five times a year. The Remuneration Committee meets quarterly, Customer Assurance Committee meets five times a year plus two Away Days and Treasury meets five times a year. We have a Customer Co-regulatory Structure (Scrutiny Panel) and they meet four times a year as and when required. We have nine members on the main Board. Customer Assurance has eight, and Audit and Risk is typically six.

What value has Convene added to your meetings? 

Convene is working very well. The Review Room is used for our yearly survey and our people are invited to comment and respond prior to meetings.  Having the ability to do this pre meeting has helped transform our whole meeting process. We now have offline items as well as online items. We no longer have a need to discuss votes for noting items during the actual meeting, which in turn allows us to focus in on the “higher issue” agenda items.  We can tick a significant number of items off the agenda before we have even started the meeting itself, saving time and increasing meeting efficiency. Receiving members feedback and queries in advance allows us to reach out to the relevant lead officers to receive their responses further saving meeting time.  

Everything will have already been covered prior to getting together. We were using Sticky Notes, but we had a trial of Conversations during July- August which we then adopted following agreement at the September  Citizen Board meeting. Everyone likes the fact that discussions flow better than when we used individual Sticky Notes. In addition, using Conversations means that you can have a more in-depth discussion about a specific item.

Which Convene features have been the most useful?

We utilise The Document Library and the Review Room. We upload appendices which are then hyperlinked to reports which minimises the size of the meeting pack. We will also be making more use of the Survey tool in 2023 as we have so far only completed one survey. We also use Votes and Resolutions, either post or pre meeting. If there is an urgent item that needs approval prior to the next upcoming meeting, we can send out a written resolution. It’s great because our attendees all have tablets which makes it possible for them to sign and comment on specific areas as required. This feature has led Citizen into Online/Offline voting, so some documents are only viewed online and not discussed within the meeting

How is Convene performing for you as far as Security is concerned?

Convene has excellent security features including providing us with the ability to restrict highly confidential data, and to ensure that the right items are visible to the right individuals. Again, with the Voting function, we can select how many people are required to vote. Historically, we were having to make two meeting packs, one restricted and one comprised of more widely accessible data with the accompanying minutes for the respective meeting packs. We do put together strictly confidential minutes, and these can be securely allocated to the relevant individuals. There is no longer a need to compromise security by circulating meeting packs via email. Typically, our meeting packs are comprised of up to approximately nine hundred pages.  We are planning to utilise the Document Library for storing some of the more extensive documents.

Has the Convene solution made a difference in terms of streamlining business processes? 

Definitely. The Conversations, Sticky Notes, and Document Library functionalities are good examples of that. We have increased our committees and now have a Customer Assurance Committee and they utilise Convene as well, so it’s been easy for us to onboard different committees by virtue of the Convene package. It’s very accessible to external individuals because we can use the web version. Convene has streamlined Citizen’s meeting process. Some reports are viewed, commented upon, and voted on via Convene only. It has removed the need to send a PDF meeting pack to officers and external stakeholders since access to papers can be gained securely and easily.

What would you say are the main differences between your previous solution and the Convene solution?

There are a lot of similarities in terms of functionality, however what we have noticed is how responsive the Convene Team is when it comes to understanding our individual needs. If we put in a request, it is immediately taken on board. Convene is always readily available for catch up meetings and updates. If we have had any suggestions, the Convene team has listened and actioned, so we have been really pleased with that. We receive a very responsive service, and we are pleased with delivery. We have contacted support on a number of occasions mainly due to user learning queries and the team have always been very helpful. Furthermore, we don’t need to explain who we are as a customer each time since Convene already has a good awareness of its customers. Convene account managers seem to have all our information instantly accessible, so we don’t need to keep repeating processes. You would not normally expect this standard of customer service from a large company covering so many different associations. Convene has helped to transform how we run our meetings especially in regard to the ability to run both online and offline. This has been one of the most significant benefits.

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