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The Diligent team
GRC trends and insights

How clerks can apply agenda management for lighter workloads

November 4, 2022
0 min read
woman applying agenda management best practices

The clerk’s desk contains a highway of important paperwork; in fact, few documents circulate around a municipal government office without getting touched by the city clerk. The municipal clerk’s fast-paced, multifaceted job requires them to constantly multitask and squeeze in work every minute they can.

Most clerks will tell you that they’re ready to hear about any solution that helps to save time and lighten their load. To address those needs, Diligent Community designed an electronic agenda management tool integrated with several other features that streamline the clerk’s workflows, so they can use their time instead to address more important issues.

Cloud-based document storage is a huge time-saver that allows clerks to access documents within seconds by doing an online search of the database, rather than spend hours looking through file cabinets stored in various facilities. The agenda management solution integrates with other common office software products, which allows clerks to work seamlessly and safely within the space of one platform.

The public transparency website that comes with Diligent Community gives citizens an opportunity to pull up council meeting agendas from the convenience of their laptop, electronic tablet or mobile phone. This is a huge time-saver for clerks, because they no longer get flooded with requests for council meeting agendas.

Online file storage and secure electronic sharing

Going paperless not only gets mountains of paper off the clerk’s desk, but an online file storage system provides clerks with many other benefits. Even if that hard-to-find document isn’t stored in the proper electronic file, it’s easy to locate with a quick electronic search.

Cloud-based storage keeps all files in order in one central location. Staff from all departments can easily retrieve the documents they need on their own, without sending requests to the clerk all day. The clerk and staff can securely share documents like the agenda with just a few mouse clicks.

Rather than running around the government office or between various buildings to hunt down documents, clerks can find what they need online, electronically attach those documents to their agendas, minutes and other items, then publish them to the public transparency website for the community’s information. What used to take hours to accomplish, clerks can now accomplish in just a few minutes.

Building agendas electronically

Creating agendas for council meetings has long been a staple of the clerk’s job, and also one of the most frustrating aspects. Building a good agenda for a council meeting is highly important, so it’s vital that clerks get it right. The council is depending on them. Citizens are counting on them. In an effort to have the most productive meeting possible, last-minute changes are common.

By simply dragging and dropping items into a template, meeting management that used to take hours can now be done in minutes. Clerks can publish the agenda and any updates in real time, and council members can pull them up on any electronic device wherever they happen to be.

Getting updates sooner means that council members and staff can review the agenda and leave paperless notes or sticky notes on it using any electronic device. Diligent Community offers users the ability to annotate notes on documents as they prepare, quickly navigate the pages, rather than leafing through numerous pages of information trying to get to one particular document.

Since the meeting agenda and all the meeting documents are online, council members don’t have to drag large meeting packets around with them. Instead of ruffling through papers during the meeting, council members can easily pull up the agenda, reports and other documents on a small tablet during the meeting.

Building minutes electronically

There is a lot for clerks to keep track of during council meetings. The electronic agenda and minutes applications are both extremely easy to use. The minutes follow the same pattern as the agenda. With many people talking throughout a fast-paced meeting, it’s easy for clerks to miss some important things that need to go into the minutes. When this happens, they may have to disrupt the meeting and ask for clarification. The minutes feature brings up a template that’s pre-filled with all the pertinent information about the meeting, including the time, date, location, council member names and all the items on the agenda.

As the council addresses each item, the clerk simply fills the details of the actions and decisions into the proper field. After the meeting is over, they can take a few minutes to revise their notes and polish them for clarity. Next, the clerk can send the completed minutes around electronically for the proper rounds of approval. Once approved, the minutes can be safely and securely stored in the electronic document storage filing system.

Clerks can also publish them online, along with the agenda, on the public transparency website quickly for the public to access online. The public transparency website is seamlessly attached to the municipal government’s website, with the same look and feel. This is a place where citizens can go to access meeting agendas and minutes, and request documents via the Freedom of Information Act on their own, without having to wait until the local government office opens up in the morning. By the time the clerk arrives at work, citizens already have the documents they wanted in their hands.

Technology is a powerful time-saving tool for clerks

Board management software such as Diligent Community provides local governments and municipalities with a powerful tool that helps lighten clerks' workloads. By electronically supporting document storage, facilitating easy searching, building agendas and managing minutes digitally, clerks can use technology to streamline their workflows and save time.

“Diligent Community has solved many problems for us; the [meeting preparation] process now runs much smoother and organizing a meeting is a pleasure now,” says Ian Dudla, Chief Administration Officer, Municipality of Resolute Bay, Canada.

Diligent Community is a software solution with agenda and meeting management as well as online citizen engagement that also supports organizational capabilities and enables effective governance.

Find out how Diligent Community can help support your local government and ease your workload too. Request a demo today.


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