Matthew Reed, Marie Curie - CEO

Convene Customer Success

Marie Curie

We spoke to Tricia Owens about how Marie Curie use Convene, the benefits they have seen and how it helped them meet and govern during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Image: Matthew Reed, Marie Curie - CEO

"Having Convene in place makes it possible to divert valued workforce into more mission critical work."

Marie Curie is the UK’s leading end of life charity. Providing frontline nursing and hospice care, a free support line and a wealth of information and support on all aspects of death and bereavement.
What is your Board structure?

We have a board of 12-13 members, and we are currently recruiting for at least a couple more. We are a large corporate charity, and all our members are volunteers. They are non-executive and are all corporate trustees. This means that nobody is based in the building, there is nobody full time permanent within the business. This highlights how a robust system of communication is a requirement. Lots of the normal shortcuts you might take if you are within the same building or indeed in the same system are not there. We are really fortunate because we have a number of fantastic people on the Board. We have a number of committees including Finance and Resources Remuneration, Investment, Quality and Audit and Risk.

How many Board meetings do you hold?

We recently moved from a structure where the board were meeting every 2 months and the committees were different frequencies throughout the year to a model that now entails quarterly Board and committee meetings. The number of attendees varies considerably. Currently we do not have everyone on Convene, but that would be something we would like to address by adding on some more licenses since there will more people that are joining the charity. At the last meeting we had for that committee there were sixteen Convene users attending and a number of non-Convene users. The meeting was 2.5 hours and involved loads and loads of papers!

What were the original reasons for adopting a Board solution?

I had in fact used meeting software before, so I had prior knowledge of their benefits. I have also worked in a number of places where we have not had one, so I know how difficult that could be, for example creating a paper pack creates a whole timetable around itself. When I arrived here Convene was already running, and the whole project of paper pack creation was not part of operations. This meant that there were none of the usual concerns with late submissions, having to slot meeting papers in at the last minute, plus the security concerns of documents being left on a copier or email attachments going astray.

Have you noticed any savings in terms of material costs/administration pressures?

Yes absolutely. I have been in the charity sector for the last 12 years, and the difference a solution meeting software makes to running a Secretariat is huge. Having Convene in place makes it possible to divert valued workforce into more mission critical work. We are also very mindful of the green agenda, and the amount of paper and energy savings we have made with Convene has been remarkable.

Are there any features of Convene you find particularly beneficial?

We find that it is very easy to create the packs with the Agenda Builder and Convene gives great visibility in terms of who is attending and who is not. The drag and drop function are also very helpful and it works very well for us. The trustees all have an app, and we go through the pack that way. We have a real mix of different individuals with individual preferences but even the most technology averse members of our Board have got the hang of it!

We do find the Review Room very helpful. We have set up folders in the Document Library for people to go into to locate induction forms and others, so there is instant accessibility.

How has Convene promoted information security within Marie Curie?

With the confidential information we are sharing, security is of the utmost importance, and this is why the Review Room is so valuable. I can put up a document and inform the relevant person/people that it is there so that we are not sending things out via encrypted email. Convene gives us that extra layer of information security. A number of our Trustees do work in highly regulated sectors, so they require considerably more secure ways of working, so it is good to have Convene as a system promoting that.

How has Convene helped with remote working, especially during the pandemic?

Convene has been hugely helpful during the pandemic. We have used the Review Room for a large amount of important information otherwise we would have been sending out documents via emails so yes, we have found it really helpful!

Can you summarise Convene in one sentence?

Convene is an intuitive system - without it, things would be much harder! Having Convene as a system made the challenges of the pandemic and associated lockdowns so much easier; it helped us transition into new ways of working really well!

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