Imagine attending a local government council meeting where they didn’t prepare an agenda. The meeting would be absolute chaos! The agenda is one of the most important parts of a council meeting. For this reason, it’s important that it’s well-organized and efficient. This is why online meeting agendas are a game-changer for local governments. The agenda should allow enough time to consider the major issue and minimize time for routine and less important issues.

Under the best of circumstances, a council meeting agenda and the associated meeting materials will be made available to the council meeting attendees and the public in enough time for all to read and digest them. State laws require each local government to establish procedures for notifying the public of the agenda and upcoming council meetings.

About the Format for a City Council Meeting

In most cases, the city council has the authority to adopt the rules of procedure for the agenda and meeting protocol. Usually, the mayor, city clerk, or city administrator prepares the agenda. The rules for the agenda may be set by ordinance, resolution, city council rules, or informal customs and practices. The rules and protocols outline who can place items on the agenda and how they can do it.

Problems in Preparing Meetings Using Manual Processes

Local government offices are a bustle of activity. That’s why many people enjoy working there—every day brings a different experience. There’s a negative side as well. The fast pace of a busy office makes for inefficiency in office procedures. One of the biggest concerns that city managers have is having a heavy workload. When things get busy, it’s easy for local government staff to lose sight of their priorities. Whoever voices a need the loudest usually gets the fastest attention and other issues fall to the bottom of the priority list. In the business of trying to get things done, documents can get easily get lost and be difficult to find when they’re needed. That can be a real problem when someone needs to be held accountable for a task.

The good news is that technology can help local governments to increase efficiency, lighten their workloads, and offer better service to their citizens. Board management software solves many of the problems that city clerks and city managers face every day.

Community by Diligent

Community by Diligent was designed with the needs of local governments in mind. It’s the most efficient, mobile, inclusive modern governance solution to better serve your community. With Community, citizens can view upcoming meeting agendas in real-time.

Diligent’s program for local governments is ADA compliant and has a multi-platform mobile capability that encourages accessibility and participation for the whole community. In fact, Community surpasses WCAG 2.1 AA compliance requirements which is the standard for electronic communications for people with disabilities. Having remote access to local government meetings drives engagement for those citizens who are less physically able to attend council meetings.

Community is a mobile-first, modern, intuitive program that allows for a seamless design. The program gives council members the ability to add or edit documents from any device where they have internet access

If citizens aren’t able to attend city councils in person, they still have the ability to pull up the meeting on their laptops, smartphones, or tablet wherever they are online via videoconference.

Community is a valuable service for handicapped people, shut-ins, busy parents, and others who are interested in council meetings, but can’t make it to meetings in person. The videos play in HD and they’re closed-captioned for optimal clarity. Citizens can also get automatic email updates from their local government once their information has been published.

City clerks and other staff happily report that by switching to online processes for municipal meeting management reduce their time for council meeting preparation by up to 80%. Community by Diligent streamlines agenda approvals because it can be done electronically. In addition, elected officials and staff can use the program to easily make notes on the agenda using any mobile device and update them in real-time.

One of the other important benefits of Community is that it enables secure ways for council members and staff to communicate and collaborate. It has a feature for granular permissions so users can always have the assurance that they’re always posting to the right group at the right time.

Community by Diligent drastically reduces the costs for printing, distribution, and labor for preparing the materials for council meetings. Once all the meeting materials are uploaded, meeting administrators and the public can print the entire board packet with one click. The program also transforms agendas into meeting minutes automatically. Minutes will be ready for approvals after making just a few minor updates and revisions.

An additional time-saver with Community by Diligent is that the program saves post-audio and video recordings, all within one easy-to-use system. The action-tracking feature tracks incoming requests and other information from your citizens. During council meetings where votes are being taken, council members have the ability to vote electronically. The program automatically displays the results in the council chambers in real time.

Concluding Thoughts on Switching to Community by Diligent

Community by Diligent creates transparency and accountability in local government. By offering new and innovative ways for citizens to get more involved with their local government, it enhances the government’s image. The software also leads to greater citizen engagement, makes communities nicer, safer, and more enjoyable places to live.

Community by Diligent connects community leaders with their citizens. It also helps city clerks and city managers to focus on their priorities and make better decisions. What makes Community by Diligent so powerful is that it builds on Diligent’s deep experience in offering digital governance solutions to corporate boards. The platform provides local governments with the same streamlined approach to modern governance that Diligent is known for and it’s tailored to the specific needs of municipal governments and their citizens for maximum transparency and accountability.