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Convene Customer Success

Newlon Housing Trust

Rachel Wickenden, Head of Executive Support at Newlon Housing Trust, explains why they chose Convene and the benefits they have seen since doing so.

"Convene has definitely made the higher meeting and email volumes manageable in these challenging times."

 
Newlon Housing Trust owns or manages around 8,200 affordable homes, primarily in nine boroughs in north and east London.

 

What were the original reasons for considering a Board solution?

We realised we were churning through high volumes of paper. As well as the paper cost, there was a clearly visible time cost in terms of printing. Because we are so heavily regulated and constrained by a large number of rules, the Board packs must go out 7 days prior to the meeting. The process was arduous, and we were looking for increased efficiency and a less labour-intensive way of working. We realised that there was a need for a digital system, and we trialled a few and ended up with Convene.

What factors lead you to choose Convene?

We did have another Board solution prior to Convene. It was running for approx. 6 months, but we found it very difficult because you had to number everything really precisely to get everything to appear in order. If you wanted to add something at a later stage it was very difficult. When we saw that with Convene it was possible to drag and drop documents without the need to re-order everything again, we were pretty much sold!

We considered other Board solutions including Boardpack and Diligent. One of them also required very complicated numbering, and it was the straightforward and intuitive nature of Convene that we liked.

How has the system been received by your Board members?

It was incredibly easy both from the admin and the user perspective. I’ve only ever had one person who had difficulty with it in all the years we have had it, and that was more to do with their IT literacy than the system!

Did you notice any reduction in costs?

Some of our directors were initially very resistant to change, so we really had to provide solid evidence for introducing a Board software. It was definitely cost effective to move to digital, there was a significant reduction in spend at the outset once Convene was up and running.

How has Convene helped as far as security is concerned?

That was definitely a reason for going digital in the first place. We needed the assurance of a secure system due to our strict rules and regulations. Convene is great because it ensures that the right data is visible to the right people.

How has Convene made a difference during the pandemic?
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With Covid the volume of emails has skyrocketed because none of us are seeing each other face to face. Instead of having to pick through twenty or so emails, with Convene information is now literally available at the touch of a button. We have had a lot more meetings too, whereas pre pandemic we would have got together for a 10-minute chat. Convene has definitely made the higher meeting and email volumes manageable in these challenging times.

We were offered free additional licences at the beginning of lockdown which was wonderful since none of us knew where we were going to be, or what we could commit to financially, so the free licenses solved that problem for us.

Can you summarise the benefits of Convene in one sentence?

We have an enormous number of meetings because we are so heavily regulated from so many different angles! We use Convene for all these meetings and it helps us to manage our extensive meeting calendar.

 

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