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  • Writer's pictureTeam Redman

Is your current paper usage in alignment with your council's community commitments?

Sustainability is a core concern for many Australian communities, which is reflected nationally across council community strategic plans. With thousands of pages being printed in the council meeting process, paper waste is an ongoing concern that is out of alignment with the sustainability goals of Australian communities.

Think about it - how many pages is your typical business paper? And is your current paper usage in alignment with community expectations?

Sustainability was highlighted as a key risk in our latest Insights Report, The Unrealised Potential of Council Meetings. Here’s an overview of some of the findings, as well as some tips you can put in place to support sustainability.

75% of councils are still reliant on hard-copy business papers.

Council business papers can reach up to 2000 pages each month. For a council with ten councillors, that’s 20,000 pages or 40 reams of paper each meeting cycle. With only one in four respondents saying their council meetings are completely electronic, across Australia, huge volumes of paper are being wasted each meeting cycle.

This is not due to a lack of trying to move councils to electronic – uniformly, we all value sustainability and environmental protection – but sometimes it’s the practicality of the change that can make it difficult.

Almost 1 in 2 councils say that staff and councillors get lost in big PDFs.

Electronic PDFs can be confusing and unreliable, and the data showed that this is the most frustrating aspect of the meeting experience. It’s difficult to keep up with proceedings, accommodate changes to agenda items and prepare for upcoming items without getting lost.

It’s unsurprising that many councillors and staff still prefer the experience of hard copy papers and why many fail to transition to electronic systems.

When it comes to helping stakeholders make the change, it’s important to understand how they are currently using the system and how their experience will be enhanced by making the transition.

How can you support sustainability?

It’s evident that sustainability should be a focus, as it presents not only an issue, but ignoring it can cause many frustrations. So how can you support sustainability and encourage the change to electronic systems?

Change is easy when the benefits to individuals are clear and users are supported to realise quick wins. They need to be clearly articulated and conveyed to each stakeholder group.

It’s important to ensure that any system you are trying to transition people to is a genuine improvement of their experience. Systems also need to ensure that councillors can navigate wherever they need to be with one simple click and provide tools that elevate the experience, so the change is appealing.

When it comes to implementation, always make sure that frustrations are heard and that a tailored approach is used to encourage behavioural change.

Discover more insights by downloading the full report or watching our recorded webinar, or watching our recorded webinar here.

Learn more about how Resolve Meeting Management can help streamline your Council Meeting process here.

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