Bournemouth Churches Housing Association, BCHA, was founded in 1968 by a number of local churches, to try and make a practical contribution to local housing need. They are a key provider of a diverse range of housing, support and learning services for socially excluded people. Based in Bournemouth they currently deliver services across the south from Plymouth to Reading.
Board of Directors – 12 members
Senior leadership team – 10 members
BCHA were steadily becoming overwhelmed administrating their board papers. With the Senior leadership team meeting every 6 weeks and the board members meeting around 6 times a year with additional committee and task group meetings spread over the year, this entails a lot of meetings. This in turn mean a lot of resource used to prepare for them and high costs for printing. Philip Baker, Company Secretary at BCHA said:
“One of the key issues was the admin hassle of getting the board papers out on time every time. With BoardPacks you can ‘upload as you go’, whereas previously the admin staff had to wait until the last paper was done before the papers could be created into a PDF and emailed at 5/6pm on the Friday before the meeting. Another key issue was of the ability to search papers for audit purposes – say an auditor wanted evidence of decisions about a particular them. It would take a while ploughing through the papers to find pertinent references. The search facility on BoardPacks now makes that instantaneous.”
After a suggestion arising from a governance audit that recommended streamlining the board process, BCHA looked at the online board portal options available to them, and eventually decided that BoardPacks was the one that best suited their needs. Philip continues:
“A small group of board members looked at products on the market and felt board packs to be the best in terms of navigation, look and feel among other things. The technical support and assistance offered to our members was also a large factor.”
BCHA implemented BoardPacks in January 2017 and it has proved hugely popular with both board members and Senior Leadership team members.
After using BoardPacks for just over a year, the feedback we have received from BCHA has been very positive.
“We were surprised at how intuitive it was to use – a simple look and feel, not complicated at all – even ‘more senior’ board members positively embraced the switch. It has become thoroughly embedded into meetings now. Paper is not quite a thing of the past but BoardPacks seems to have professionalised meetings in an effortless way”
It had previously taken too much time to prepare for each meeting, collating papers, printing and distributing materials, which was a drain on the time of the executive support team.
Everything can now be found in one central repository within BoardPacks, which has made an enormous difference to those at BCHA. Any member that wishes to refer back to a previous meeting can now do so at the click of a button with our Topic History functionality and extensive search facility– previously it was a convoluted process that involve manually requesting the information. Philip concluded:
“For the size of our organization, the face-value savings are marginal vs cost of the licenses but the fact we don’t all waste time printing off papers before meetings (and then having to file those papers somewhere afterwards) is a boon and frees our time up for more important tasks. Even note taking during meetings is now easier.”