Livability tackles barriers to help people with disabilities lead a better quality of life
Livability, a national UK Christian disability and community engagement charity, sees first-hand how many vulnerable people in society need support. Livability, created by a 2007 merger of the charities The Shaftesbury Society and John Grooms, has a huge task: to deliver disability services, community projects, education and training resources that promote inclusion and well-being. Since becoming a Diligent Boards™ customer, Livability has gained an efficient, flexible and user-friendly collaboration tool for its Board and Executive members.
Company Secretary Mike Langworth holds a strategic position at the heart of Livability’s governance support operations. His experience extends back to 1995, before the merger took place. He provides an important link between the Board of Trustees (currently 18 members) and the Executive Board (five members) on company procedures and changes.
Langworth explained how the members of the board and the four sub-committees had been frustrated with the previous solution: a homemade system using hyperlinked PDF documents that made it hard for users to navigate between documents.
“It took a lot of effort to use and didn’t have the flexibility and features that were really needed,” said Langworth. With all the services that Livability provides, the charity needed a better solution so Langworth set about finding the best board portal provider that would meet the requirement.
After looking at a number of alternatives, it became clear that Diligent was the best digital board portal solution for Livability.
“We favoured Diligent Boards because of its versatility and ease of use,” said Langworth. “After going through the solution, I put it to the final test by sharing the full demonstration of its capabilities with our chair of trustees. A chair with a demanding schedule needs things to work easily and properly; it was vital that they were satisfied. Diligent did its job well.”
The transition to Diligent Boards in 2014 went smoothly and efficiently without any major problems, according to Langworth.
“We went through a rigorous exercise to make sure board members would be happy with its introduction and would transition favourably from what we were doing before to the new digital board portal.”
Langworth said he was happily satisfied with Diligent’s customer success and support team since its members took the time needed to help each one of Livability’s users to become familiar with the tool. The trustees adapted quickly and liked the Board’s portability and its one-source capability for all information; they also appreciated not having to revert to cumbersome paper-based packs that were inflexible, difficult to carry around and wasted resources.
“What I wanted to achieve first of all was to make the production of board papers a much simpler exercise,” said Langworth. “I wanted to lessen the amount of labour involved in assembling packs and ensure that what we were sending out was a complete pack with everything in the correct order and fully accessible to trustees. And that we could know that as soon as we uploaded it, that it would be there for them without any glitches or issues.”
Hayley Ballard, the PA and Governance Officer in charge of putting board papers together, explained why Diligent Boards has saved her time – from three hours gathering all the documents, formatting them and creating the consolidated PDF to today’s procedure, which takes less than 60 minutes.
“Before, I was getting emailed with different documents at different times and some were received very late; which complicated things in terms of being able to create a complete pack that was in proper order. Now, it’s much easier, as I can insert late documents at any time; page numbering is done automatically and I no longer have to insert hyperlinks.” Ballard has gained more job productivity because of this and now has time to help with the charity’s other areas.
It has been two years since the Diligent Boards solution has been installed on the users’ own devices. Since passwords are needed to access the information, sometimes trustees who only meet four times a year forget them. However, Ballard said that trustees have only to make one call and then are quickly supplied with a new password from Diligent’s customer support team. With this support in mind, as well as gaining versatility and productivity, Langworth reflected favourably on his decision to choose Diligent Boards.
“I had been looking to get an efficient tool that our Board could use that would lessen the labour input required for compiling board papers while improving the quality and usability of what we were doing. To my mind, we’ve reached that goal.