Brooklands College provides vocational training and further and higher education to students attending their two Surrey campuses or through distance learning schemes. The governing body, led by Jerry Tapp, sets the mission and the strategy of the college, whilst safeguarding the college’s assets and overseeing its financial performance. The governing body consists of volunteers with significant professional, business, or community experience. In December 2013, the college was awarded ‘Good’ by Ofsted, having made significant developments to re-invigorate their leadership. The college recognises that maintaining an up-to-date understanding of technology change is important to the continual provision of excellent teaching. The college exhibits a culture of ownership, accountability, and performance. The ability to record and audit is important to the college’s strategy. They understand that for financial stability, decisions are grounded in commercial reality and they recognise that providing the right support tools is key to a motivated workforce.
The governing body and committee meetings involve up to 25 people, including 19 governors and additional members of staff. Maggie Wood, Clerk to the Governors said, “Preparing papers for up to 25 people is incredibly time consuming, not to mention the paper and postage costs.”
Brooklands College required a solution that would reduce the administrative burden, whilst enabling smoother meeting management. They considered a number of providers of meeting management software, and chose eShare’s BoardPacks.
“We introduced BoardPacks back in October and it has worked very well for us,” Maggie Wood said. “It is easy to use, is eco-friendly and will save us money.” The governors, coming from a range of different backgrounds, have different experiences of technology, so a solution was needed that would suit all abilities.
Providing the necessary support to assure a comfortable implementation is highly important for eShare. “It was one of the easiest pieces of software I have ever implemented,” Maggie told us, “Training was always on hand, no question was considered too silly.”
Day or night, there is always someone available to provide help from eShare’s support team. Maggie Wood commented, “I’ve used the 24/7 support, and found it to be excellent. The online support section is also fantastic.”
Why eShare and not one of its competitors
“While the competition had a similar product with regards to meeting management, we were looking for something that we could expand to include other areas of business in the future. BoardPacks offered this with the audit, risk, and knowledge functionality.”
The governance modules in BoardPacks work alongside the meeting solution to provide a seamless method for board members to manage the more complex aspects of governance, such as risk, decision-making, and compliance.
“We looked at three companies and found eShare to be the best fit for the college,” Maggie explained. “What sets eShare apart from its competitors is its wonderful customer service. It doesn’t matter what the query is or when you raise it, help is always at hand.”
Using tablets in the boardroom
While the majority of Brooklands College users choose to access their meeting details and documents through the iPad app, Windows Surfaces are also used by some governors, as are laptops. Some users find the two-click PDF function useful as it allows them to view the board papers as a comprehensive and up-to-date PDF.
“The BoardPacks software is very easy to use.”
Support and user groups
The support team at eShare have enabled a smooth transition from paper packs to BoardPacks. The implementation process included data migration and training for both administrators and board members. The support team have provided guidance to board members both collectively and independently, keeping in touch and responding to any queries.
“Our board members found it very easy to get to grips with it, which had been a concern beforehand.” Additionally, at eShare the users are invited to become a core part of the product development process.
“With eShare, you have the opportunity to participate in customer focus groups,” Maggie explained, “and they really do listen to the customer. If someone raises an ‘it would be really good if we could do…’ this is usually implemented very quickly.”
By using BoardPacks, Brooklands College have reduced the amount of time required to prepare for their board meetings, whilst improving the flow of information to the governors. With simple implementation and excellent customer service, the transfer from paper to tablets means that the governors can focus on meaningful activities, further improving the education of the students.
As a final comment, Maggie stated, “I would highly recommend.”