Watford Community Housing Trust is a housing association providing homes and services to over 20 local communities throughout Watford and parts of Three Rivers.
Headquarters: Gateway House, 59 Clarendon Road, Watford, Herts
Board members: 11 full members – 3 co-opted members
Executive members: 4
Board and committee meetings: 20 per Annum
The Trust was considering board portal technology as a way to become more efficient and move towards a paperless environment in line with their IT strategy.
Distributing paper meeting packs is both costly and time consuming and the Trust was concerned about the security implications of papers being lost in transit, which drove the need to find a better solution.
As a trend leading housing association, Watford Community Housing Trust were the first to use BoardPacks in their sector, but more have subsequently followed including trade body The National Housing Federation.
Julie Robinson, Director of Resources at the Trust, saw BoardPacks as the ideal paperless solution, “It is simple to use and members were familiar with the Apple technology of the BoardPacks app which made the process of adoption easy,”
The Trust piloted the software with a small number of members for the first meeting. It proved a success so they eradicated paper from the next meeting and all members used the software.
The implementation was quick and easy. Administrators were given full training by eShare on how to use the software. Then the Trust provided drop-in training sessions to support their users.
The Trust also rolled BoardPacks out to their executive and wider management teams due to the success at board level. The number of users is expected to rise as more teams become involved.
Karen Airey, Assistant Company Secretary said, “I find the support team to be very helpful and knowledgeable. Both online and telephone queries have been resolved promptly and professionally – even questions I have asked several times when first using BoardPacks!”
The Trust has completely eliminated paper board packs from meetings, which has helped minimize its environmental footprint and goes some way towards its CSR policy.
Julie Robinson commented,“The paper savings are just part of the host of benefits that we have achieved. Our main objective was to increase security and efficiency, which we have definitely done.”
“Using the BoardPacks app on iPads has allowed users to make notes and thoroughly discuss agenda items instead of faffing around trying to find and reorder the board papers. It has enabled us to be more productive and save time for board members, not just the administrators.”
Board members also have access to previous board papers and other information, such as trust rules and board terms of reference, which are saved in a knowledge library.
Julie Robinson finished by saying, “I would definitely recommend for all housing associations to take this step. We feared it may impact decision-making, but this has not been a problem at all. BoardPacks has delivered efficiency, paper savings, and now we don’t have to worry about the confidentiality of our board papers.”