Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is an independent foundation working to improve the health of people in the London boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark. The Charity is also the fundraising charity of Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, raising millions every year to improve patient experience and the welfare and development of staff.
The structure of Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity is highly complex. In addition to the main board, there are five further committees, formed by industry experts and advisors who meet regularly to discuss and make strategic decision. Over the year this entails a lot of meetings, which in turn means a lot of resource used to prepare for them and high costs for printing materials.
“We felt we were ready for a change in terms of how we approached board meetings,” said Trudi Kent, executive support manager, Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. “Meetings were costing too much and taking too long to prepare for, and we also wanted all the information relating to each meeting in one easily accessible place.”
“Furthermore, this period coincided with a move to using more mobile devices within Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. Trustees were increasingly bringing their own tablets and smartphones to meetings and it became obvious that we should make their lives easier by enabling them to use those devices for committee meetings here.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity looked at the online board portal options available to them, and eventually decided that BoardPacks was the one that best suited their needs. But before full implementation they wanted to run a trial to be certain it was the right solution.
“The trial roll-out was very simple and straightforward, and training was provided to all the administrators” continued Trudi Kent. “Several years’ worth of past board meeting materials were uploaded to the knowledge repository within BoardPacks, so users could get a feel for the new functionality and features.”
Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity implemented BoardPacks in May 2017, and although so far it has been in use for just one round of committee meetings, it has already proved hugely popular with both administrators and users.
Overall there are around 30 users of Boardacks within Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, and the feedback has been very positive. There are some users that are less confident with technology than others, and still prefer to use paper, but Trudi is confident that these will soon embrace the full functionality BoardPacks has to offer:
“Once people get the hang of it – which doesn’t take long – they really love BoardPacks and get excited about how it makes meetings so much more efficient. It has also been a major time saver for everyone involved in putting board packs together. In an organisation with many meetings like Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity, the time taken on preparation has now been halved, which equates to a massive saving on manhours, that can be deployed elsewhere.”
It had previously taken around two days to prepare for each meeting, collating papers, printing and distributing materials, which was a drain on the time of administrators and the executive support team. With such a large volume of committees and meetings, it was also becoming very expensive in printing materials for these meetings.
Everything can now be found in one central repository within BoardPacks, which has made an enormous difference to those at Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity. Any trustee that wishes to refer back to a previous meeting can now do so at the click of a button – previously it was a convoluted process that involve manually requesting the information.
“The knowledge repository is particularly popular with users,” concluded Trudi. “We now have past meeting materials going back to 2012, so they can check minutes and materials from years ago with ease. Users can also now annotate documents on the move or in the meeting itself and that is a much more effective way of working for us all.”