Case study: NHS trust cuts down on administration time and improves governance with BoardPacks software

Hertfordshire Partnership NHS Foundation Trust reduces preparation time and saves on printing and postage costs with BoardPacks meeting management solution

About the trust

Meetings now run more smoothly, actions are no longer missed or avoidably delayed and the extensive archive of documents is more easily accessible to all

The Hertfordshire Partnership Foundation Trust (HPFT) is dedicated to providing excellent health and social care for people with mental health illnesses and those with learning disabilities.

The trust aims to provide a high standard of services and has an outstanding track record of service, delivery and quality. It also works in close partnership with Hertfordshire County Council along with other NHS organisations to promote and support mental health in the community. The trust provides specialist learning disability services in Norfolk and North Essex. <.p>

The problem

The HPFT governance team quickly recognised that a large part of its administrators’ time was being spent collating meeting papers – including photocopying pages and sending out duplicate meeting packs both as hard copies and on email, which was both time consuming and expensive.

In addition, non-executive directors would frequently request past papers be sent to them, and it was impractical to expect them to maintain their own archive of records securely. The trust therefore wanted to ensure it had the highest standard of governance and that its back-office administration was running as efficiently as possible.

Another key consideration was to ensure that any actions set at meetings were not overlooked or not completed on time, therefore a solution that provided an audit trail of the process was crucial.

The solution

BoardPacks is designed specifically to support good governance and deliver back-office efficiency savings such as those laid out in the NHS Operating Framework.

It would previously take two days to put meeting packs together. Since implementing BoardPacks this has been cut right down and can now be produced in hours rather than days

BoardPacks is a web and app based governance and meeting management tool provided by eShare. BoardPacks helps its users achieve their vision of using software to gain a simple, transparent, unprocessed view of their organisation.

A centralised, secure platform accessible via a web browser or tablet apps, BoardPacks facilitates better collaboration and radically simplifies the process of issuing agenda-led meeting papers. BoardPacks is used by board and committee members, company secretaries and governance officers alike to drive efficiency and good governance and reduce the administrative burden and cost associated with paper-based processes. It also takes the effort out of upper-level management processes, such as managing risk and making decisions.

Barbara Suggitt, company secretary at HPFT, saw the benefits of the BoardPacks system being built on SharePoint. She said: “When we first came across BoardPacks, we recognised immediately that the solution they have developed in SharePoint is far more comprehensive and intuitive than we could expect to be able to develop in-house. As SharePoint is already a familiar platform within the trust, deployment and training has been easy.”

“We knew that our administrative processes were not as efficient as they could be, and BoardPacks stood out as offering the potential to streamline these processes around meetings and associated documents. We also liked the fact that the platform could be extended to manage many other governance processes such as risk management, policy management, internal audit, and compliance.”

The benefits

HPFT chose to implement a gradual cultural change by rolling out BoardPacks to one committee at a time. The trust received a great response from board members, who quickly took to using their iPads in meetings. Suggitt said: “We currently have 13 board members using the solution and it is making life much easier. We plan to roll out to a further 26 members in the future.

“We take part in a lot of video conferencing and having data to hand is really helpful for users. Also, the ability to be able to mark up pages or highlight specific information is invaluable. Furthermore, it is much more secure for confidential briefings compared with our previous processes.”

She added: “Meetings now run more smoothly, actions are no longer missed or avoidably delayed and the extensive archive of documents is more easily accessible to all. Committee members can access all the relevant information, past and present, when they need it, and they can be confident that any tasks that need completing do not get forgotten or delayed to the next meeting.”

The implementation of BoardPacks has also reduced the administrative time it takes to collate board papers ahead of meetings.

We’re making a huge saving in cost as there is no longer a need to photocopy pages and pages – all documents are available electronically. Likewise, there are no postage or courier costs involved in distribution

Suggitt said: “We currently hold approximately 60 meetings a year – with board packs consisting of around 250 pages that have to be prepared for 13 board members. It would previously take two days to put meeting packs together. Since implementing BoardPacks this has been cut right down and can now be produced in hours rather than days.

“We’re also making a huge saving in cost as there is no longer a need to photocopy pages and pages – all documents are available electronically. Likewise, there are no postage or courier costs involved in distribution.

“A further benefit of BoardPacks is the ability to tackle so many governance issues. While our immediate focus is meetings, actions, and knowledge, we also know that we have an integrated cost effective platform that can be extended to manage risk, policies, decision-making, business plans, procedures, internal audits, and pretty much any governance process right across the organisation.”

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