Tweed Shire Council takes a holistic approach to meeting management resulting in a more straightforward, more efficient meeting process.
Tweed Shire Council, NSW
Increasing efficiencies during the council meeting process only makes life easier for everyone involved. And if you’re going to do something, you might as well do it right.
The team at Tweed Shire Council has improved their agenda, minute, approval, and webcasting processes since implementing Resolve as their meeting management solution. This is largely due to a well-thought-out approach, careful implementation, and understanding of future requirements.
We spoke to Corporate Governance Manager Stephanie Papadopoulos from Tweed Shire Council. She understood that if they wanted to streamline their council meeting process, they needed a holistic solution like Resolve to make it happen.
A holistic meeting management solution – now and for the future
The need to produce business papers, minutes, and tasking documents efficiently has always been an essential element of the Council’s meeting process. While their existing platform allowed them to create what was required, team members were becoming frustrated with the time taken to produce business papers and the inabilities of the system to keep up with demands.
“Our papers can include thousands of pages, and within those, there’s large attachments and files made up of plans and diagrams,” said Stephanie. “We found our current system would regularly not cope with the large and diverse attachments.”
This, combined with the then-impending requirement for NSW councils to stream their council meetings, meant Tweed Shire needed to find an end-to-end meeting management solution to suit their requirements.
“Along with increasing efficiencies and making the meeting process easy, the new requirement for webcasting meant we needed to find a holistic solution that would cater to our needs now and in the future,” explained Stephanie.
“We found our current system would regularly
not cope with the large and
Taking a leap of faith and encouraging change
When it comes to implementing software, gaining buy-in and encouraging adoption can be a learning experience for all involved.
“I was fairly new to the Council, and the change was pretty big for us – we were taking a leap of faith,” she said. “Resolve would be a shift in the way we managed the business paper process, and would effect a number of stakeholders, including Councillors, report writers and administrators and the way in which the public would receive meetings and materials. We also moved away from printing thousands of pages of agendas each year to using an electronic system, so it was going to be a significant change.”
To get staff trained and familiar with the system, the Council decided to onboard their minute secretaries as super users. “We had three Minute Secretaires in our team, and they were involved in the development of the product from day one” said Stephanie. “They found the system intuitive, easy to use, and as a result, we have now expanded the team to five, engaging and are training a further two administrators this year.”
“They found the system intuitive, easy to use,
and as a result, we have now expanded the team to five, engaging and are training a further two
administrators this year.”
Seamless implementation and adoption require forward-thinking.
To kick off the project, the council started using Resolve for committee and executive leadership team meetings. For Stephanie, it was necessary to trial the software with smaller meetings first and ensure the training process was straightforward and hassle-free.
“We didn’t want the implementation to be a burden for staff. We wanted to make it easy to learn and needed it to be set up for our way of working,” she explained. “Once we tried and tested the platform, it was much easier to roll out for everyone. We also ran both Resolve and our current platform side-by-side to ensure the process was seamless.”
Stephanie also contributes part of the implementation and adoption success to a two-way education process between the Council and Redman staff. She explained how being early adopters has benefited them in the long term.
“It was great to have the opportunity to be one of the early adopters. It allowed us to be part of the process and ensure we were set up for success. Kurtis (from Redman Solutions) attended our internal meetings to listen to what we needed and helped us create a tailored solution. We put a lot of thought into how people will use Resolve, which means we haven’t had to make any changes since we started using it.”
Resolve makes the meeting process easier and increases efficiencies from beginning to end.
One of the most significant improvements to Tweed Shire’s meeting management process has been the speed they can now execute. But Stephanie also describes how Resolve has simplified the approval processes and exceeded webcast requirements.
“We are now producing agendas in minutes rather than hours, and the upload and download of files are so easy and fast compared to what we were using in the past,” she said. “Resolve also provides us with simple templates we can use for Council reports, meaning everything is available in one place.”
“We are now producing agendas in minutes
rather than hours, and the upload and download
of files are so easy and fast compared to what
we were using in the past.”
Stephanie further emphasised how the Council is also experiencing benefits across the board with their minutes and approval processes.
“Managing the approval flow has been a big change for us. While a driver to implement Resolve was due to our webcasting requirement, we can now take that even further to index our minutes into the webcast. This just makes the production of minutes so much more efficient, and digestible for the public.”
While the journey to create a more effective meeting process didn’t happen overnight, Stephanie is glad about the decision to improve the entire process rather than make minor tweaks.
“I’m glad we took the leap to a more holistic product rather than something that might have been a minor improvement,” she admitted. “It’s definitely made our meeting process easier and more efficient, and I’m so pleased the organisation and councillors have adopted it.”