Vicky Boner, Director of Housing - Clarion Housing

Convene Customer Success

Clarion Housing Group

We spoke to Scott Hyde, Senior Governance Manager at Clarion Housing Group, to find out how Convene has helped them have more efficient meetings.

Image: Vicky Boner, Director of Housing


Clarion Housing is the largest housing association in the country, owning and managing 125,000 homes across over 170 local authorities.
Pre-Convene: Lengthy Administrative Workload + Staying Compliant

Before we used any solution, we were compiling our board packs manually. We had to use a printing company for large scale print runs that would take over an hour. We’d arrive with 100s of pages and a stamp for the agenda. Then we had to hand stamp all the agenda numbers ourselves, then once the packs were compiled, we would have to physically distribute them to meeting participants.

A typical meeting agenda could be 1000s of pages long. We used to have to make 75 copies of each, not including the extra exempts and appendices. For example, because we have to comply with the Local Development Framework, Government recommendations stipulate that these documents must be fully visible for all members to guarantee that all decisions are being made upon robust data. Again, given our regulatory commitments, these packs also had to go to every single public library because of their status as public access documents. Convene’s features help enable this level of compliance.

But the size of the packs meant that they wouldn’t go through people’s letterboxes!  There were other inevitable problems with paper packs. For example, a document would be scanned upside down, or documents would be placed in the wrong order. We even had one occasion when someone’s airline ticket had somehow ended up being photocopied inside a meeting pack!

Introducing Convene: Seamless Implementation and Intuitive to Use

After considering a range of solutions that were highlighted in our internal survey, we moved to take advantage of Convene’s free trial offer. It was a solution that my Line Manager had used and got on well with, so we had a product demonstration from Gemma Walford from Convene. Everyone was very enthusiastic about it!

We had an early issue about how we grouped our members but Convene was able to resolve this easily. Once we had the app, we ran a testing exercise, which had positive results from our users, so we moved to roll out Convene.

Normally, I’ve needed to provide the support for the implementation of any new systems, often needing to sit at desks and give granular instructions to users, it’s something I’ve done for years! However, with Convene, this is not necessary as it is such an intuitive system.

Other systems make claims as far as speed and efficiency are concerned, but these do not always ring true. With Convene it really was the case!

Reaping the Rewards: More Efficient Meetings with Convene

Convene has helped us save lots of valuable time, so that is an obvious efficiency savings. It now only takes around 10 minutes to put a board pack together. In general, Convene has helped us massively cut down on paper usage, increased levels of document security, and made compiling and distributing board packs very straightforward.

In addition, Convene’s Audit Trail feature gives us the ability to see who has downloaded and viewed each document which is especially useful. The Document Library is also particularly useful and it’s easy to edit. It’s really helpful when you have to submit papers at the last minute which everyone has to do at times! The fact that you can add or remove a paper without having to republish the whole pack is also beneficial. We were impressed by how fast the file upload was!

In Summary

Convene allows us to speed up the Board pack creation process and work more efficiently. It is less expensive than the last system we had in place and has been well received by our staff.

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