Angela Burrows - Crosskeys Homes

Convene Customer Success

Cross Keys Homes

Angela Burrows - Service Manager, Governance, Legal Services and Compliance at Cross Keys Homes - gives us an overview of how they switched to Convene and how it has revitalised and streamlined their meeting process.

Image: Angela Burrow COO

“There was no “hard sell.” We were able to see the system in action before we went live, the teething problems that I had envisaged were not there and the help we have received from Convene has been excellent”


Please provide an outline as to your meeting calendar, and how frequently you meet using Convene.

We currently have four annual board meetings and two strategic away days in person at our Head Office, and four sub committees, each of which meet four times a year remotely. 

What were your initial reasons for introducing a Board solution, and what made you decide to move to Convene?

As part of our Environmental Strategy, and to streamline all the functions of running our governance department, we were looking to drive forward our paperless aspirations and to bring our organisation into the digital age. 

We needed a system that would remove all aspects of the process where human intervention was a necessity.  Convene provided us with the tools for removing the number of steps that we had to take to avoid any problems of that nature.

We moved to Convene after conducting a review of our digital board pack system, as Boardpacks were going through an update of their entire package. We compared the two systems, features, additional benefits etc, and the feedback from team members who would be using it and decided to move to Convene.

Convene is more accessible and has several key features that worked better than the system we previously had in place, or what was on offer.  

What factored into the decision to move to digital?

In 2017, when I joined Cross Keys Homes, there was a drive to go paperless, however, we were still sending out large board packs. By 2019, we had moved to paperless which was to be fortuitous in terms of timing given the pandemic in 2020. Had we not moved to a paperless model prior to the pandemic, we would have encountered a range of issues trying to produce hard copy meeting packs.

Printing was expensive and time consuming and could impact the administration staff when board packs were very large. The process was cumbersome, timely and expensive. Further, we had committed to our Environmental Strategy, so reducing the use of paper, ink, transport (postage) etc. reflected our green agenda values.

Which Convene features do you find most useful?

Documents are added easily, a couple of clicks and you can upload several at a time. Where an item has got multiple appendices, it’s useful to go into that file on our system, click ‘all’ and simply upload them. The fact that Convene allows this to be done seamlessly is particularly beneficial.

Having the ability to add new people quickly to the circulation, or for access to previous papers, is useful as well. For example, when we have a new Board member who is due to start the following week, but who needs access to the Board pack before they start, I can add them easily. This also applies to any other administration staff.
When the meeting is published, it’s great to have the ability to add messages with important updates into the email for example a notification of an updated document and release date. Having the ability to add in those finer details is important as is the fact that updates will automatically go to and be seen by the people on the circulation list.  Previously, this was done via direct emails ourselves. 

The Agenda being in the content of the email is also very valuable, since attendees can have a quick scroll down for any important information. 

We use the Document Library for items such as our company Rules, policies and strategies that the Board need to be aware of.  The benefit to using the Document Library is that it allows for a smaller and more streamlined board packs to be circulated. 

A real benefit to using Convene is that any amendments we need to make to Board papers are now immediate. We release our Board papers 10 days prior to a meeting, and there may be announcements or changes in that time that mean updates have to be sent to our Board. 

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

We are very confident with Convene in this regard.  This was an area we did a lot of research into because of several security breaches within housing sector at the time so we were on high alert. Our IT people were confident in Convene’s ability to store data securely, so we received the green light internally.

What has the feedback been like from your users?

Since most of our people are digitally competent, the majority understood how the system would work.  Some of our Board members had already moved to digital and were very supportive of the drive to go digital. 

Regarding the switch to Convene, it was far smoother than anticipated. All issues and concerns raised were dealt with promptly and the support we received was clear and easy to understand. Having used the online chat service a couple of times myself, I can personally vouch for the way I was walked through each step to resolve the issues. 

The team received fantastic support on the switch to Convene and all questions and demos provided were really useful for the administrators and the users alike. 


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