Viridian Housing’s board information is safely housed with Diligent Boards
Viridian Housing is a UK housing association, which provides social housing to people on a low income or who need support. It provides housing to more than 30,000 residents across London and the South East, the Midlands and West Sussex. It has around 16,000 homes, and works in partnership with local authorities, organisations and residents to create safe, sustainable communities. Viridian Housing has been using Diligent Boards™ since September 2012.
Viridian Housing’s executive team meets every two weeks, and its Board meets around 10 times a year. In addition, the organisation has four committees that meet quarterly. These meetings involve between 40 and 50 people in total, all of whom need to review detailed information about the organisation ahead of each meeting.
A not-for-profit organisation operating in the public sector has some distinct differences compared to a private or listed company. Often, the team within a not-for-profit organisation will be volunteers: In the case of housing associations, a committee of volunteers has overall responsibility for the work of the organisation. That Board will include representatives from the community, local authorities, business and government. As a result, a technology solution must have broad appeal, be easy to use and be extremely cost-effective to deliver results within tight budget constraints. Diligent Boards is designed not just for enterprise organisations – although the solution is used by a substantial number of FTSE 100 companies – but also for not-for-profit organisations like Viridian. Before using Diligent Boards, the Viridian team prepared paper packs of information for all of their directors ahead of each board and committee meeting. It sought to move to a digital board portal as part of a long-term strategy to secure and digitise confidential personal information, relating to the individuals using its housing services. Aslam Jahan, Viridian’s project manager, explained: “I can’t stress how important security is for us. We take it extremely seriously, as we deal with very sensitive data. It was our main concern when looking at a board portal.” The organisation also wanted to find a solution that was cost-effective and efficient.
The organisation went through a formal RFP process to review suppliers, and narrowed the list down to three potential vendors. Of these, Diligent stood out, according to executive assistant Shirley Griffiths: “We saw a number of solutions that were much too complex, and obviously designed to suit the needs of larger organisations. But we were pleasantly surprised by the Diligent Boards solution – its simple functionality and impressive security were really appealing. It did exactly what we wanted, and did it well, within the budget available.”
Using Diligent Boards, Viridian’s board and committee members have instant, secure access to all the information they need to make decisions. Jahan said: “Users have access to any updates straight away, so they know they’re always reviewing the latest information. It is also easy to access historical information via the archive section, so they can refer back to previous meeting notes and new users can get up to speed quickly.”
Using Diligent Boards has also resulted in tangible financial savings for Viridian, which is significant for a not-for-profit organisation. The new system saves the administrative team so much time each month that when a staff member left the company, the rest of the team was able to absorb the role. As Griffiths said: “Creating and distributing paper packs took a full-time role, albeit spread across a number of people. We are delighted that not only is Diligent Boards a cost-effective solution for Viridian, but it is helping us to save money in other ways.”
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