Nicholas Harris - CEO Stonewater

Convene Customer Success

Stonewater Housing

We spoke to Amy Edwards, Administrator, governance, and Performance, at Stonewater on how they use Convene before during, and after their Board meetings.

Image: Nicholas Harris - CEO.

"Convene has promoted collaboration during an exceedingly difficult time."

Stonewater is a leading social housing provider, managing around 33,600 homes in England for over 75,000 customers.
Can you describe the structure of your Board?

There are 12 Board members, and our Company Secretary also joins our meetings. We have other committees and panels that we use Convene for (10 people are in a panel). Meetings take place every couple of weeks, so there are always multiple meetings per month. In between the main meetings, there are always panel and committee meetings, so it is a busy calendar depending upon what is happening in a particular month etc.

How is Convene used at Stonewater?

We use Convene for our monthly Board meetings. The meeting packs need to be ready one week before that so that everyone has access to the relevant papers so I make sure all packs are circulated and that everyone has what they need to read. Convene is used to set it all out in a timely manner.

I am also now responsible for adding in new users and getting them started if they have not used the system before. I am only working on user set up and adding and removing Board papers, plus I have set up a few Review Rooms. Meeting preparation is where Convene adds value, for example the Agenda function is immensely helpful.

How have the Board found using Convene?

No complaints or issues so far. There is a wide age range in our team and the oldest as well as the youngest can use it effectively without any difficulties which is testament to its ease of use definitely. You do not have to be a younger generation who has grown up with technology to be able to use it! Convene is very intuitive as a system and does not present a problem for our less technical users.

Which features would you say are the most useful?

The Agenda Builder definitely. I set up a Review Room recently, which was handy because the emails would come in saying that someone had viewed a document and had then finished with it. We also use the Document Library to update policies and strategies and it is helpful to have it there in the background. I can update policy documents to a new one, for example, very easily.

We used the Permissions function in the last meeting where there were certain confidential papers some of which had a restricted audience. It us an added layer of security and stopped someone accidentally seeing something if they clicked on a button inadvertently for example. It kept everything “cleaner” and streamlined, and stopped us having to say, “don’t click that one!” so the meeting flow was really improved. This ensure that my team only allows information access to the people who need it, so we are able to ensure that the right data is only visible to the intended audience.

In what ways has Convene helped with remote working especially during the pandemic?

It has made it easy to work from home during Covid. I am a few hours away from my manager and it is easy for me to do an agenda from here. He can easily view the agenda etc, plus if I have any issues, I can easily get help or discuss with someone else. People can easily jump in and out the system because everything is on the one platform. Without Convene this kind of cohesion and streamlining would be impossible. Convene has promoted collaboration during an exceedingly difficult time.

Is ESG high on the agenda for Stonewater?

ESG is a high priority for Stonewater. We are trying to be more sustainable definitely so meeting on Convene rather than paper is the way to go!

Can you summarise Convene in one sentence?

“Convene is user friendly and has really it has simplified remote working during the pandemic”.


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