New South Wales Government FACS streamlines operations to reach more people with better services
The Department of Family and Community Services (FACS) is a government organisation of 22,000 employees in New South Wales (NSW) that supports vulnerable people and families to participate in social and economic life and build stronger communities. FACS directly supports people across NSW through its own services and through funding non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver specialist support services.
FACS has streamlined its operations and processes to ensure it works efficiently for the public. More than 300 directors, government officials, senior executives and administrative staff use over 90 separate meeting packs, some maintained daily. The Diligent BoardsTM solution underpins FACS’s executive communications platform, enabling more mobile, efficient access to information and timely decision-making.
Transparent reporting, internal and external meetings with various stakeholders and easy access to organisational communications are all factors that play a role in the smooth running of a government group like FACS. But FACS’s process of collating materials for board meetings and other high-level engagements was far from ideal.
According to Angela Leonello, executive officer and company secretary: “Essentially, we were using a combination of methods to develop our board materials PDF documents were issued via email with large files shared using a series of products that weren’t secure,” said Angela.
Then the administrative team would also print the meeting materials and manually insert tab dividers and courier them to the homes or offices of directors and stakeholders. The paper-based approach created significant problems, additional work, version control problems, security issues and logistical difficulties.
The company secretariat sought to find the best solution for the organisation’s future.
HOW DILIGENT HELPED
FACS was one of the early adopters of the Diligent Boardbooks solution in Australia, implementing the board portal solution in 2011.
Seeking a secure, digital solution to facilitate communication with its directors and subcommittees, FACS wanted to maximise productivity and knew there was a better solution to compiling board materials than its existing process.
FACS needed a solution that would not only cater to board meetings, but would also assist in its preparation of materials for high-level internal and external meetings. It also needed to ensure the directors were able to stay connected on a daily basis whether on the road or at home.
“As an organisation, we required a secure and easy-to-use platform where the most current information could be accessed anywhere at any time,” said Angela.
Recognising that the team had different levels of IT knowledge, Angela valued Diligent’s extensive training and ongoing support network and saw it as setting them apart from competitors.
“It was crucial that the platform we used offered 24/7 technical support. During the change management process, our Diligent account manager came into our office to lead briefings and training sessions on the tool, which was very helpful.”
At an operational level, introducing the Diligent Boards solution into the everyday routine of management at FACS has made life easier. Within FACS, 93 separate meeting packs are accessed daily by more than 300 directors, senior executives and administrative staff, a change that has brought major benefits and improved the way the organisation operates.
FACS produces materials for board meetings, risk and audit committee meetings and high-level meetings with members of Parliament and government officials. In addition, the organisation has used the features of the Diligent Boards platform in ways that meet its specific needs.
“The Diligent Boards solution ensures our directors are constantly mobile and allows the team to communicate remotely. There is no need for directors to stop at the office to collect documents or spend time ensuring they are carrying the relevant materials for their next meeting. Instead the documents are shared via the app and synced to an iPad or Windows tablet device.”
According to the company secretary, the approach is efficient and saves significant time for the directors and the administrative team. Angela also credits the 24/7, comprehensive support as another reason why Diligent has been so easy to adopt at all levels of management.
“We evaluated quite a few key board portal providers and Diligent was trusted to be the right partner. The support team is very helpful and we always have access to technical assistance,” she said.
Diligent continues to provide and develop the board portal service to ensure the growing needs and requirements of government organisations, like FACS, are continuously met