Often undervalued and taken for granted, London’s trees, parks, gardens and woodlands provide us with more than just open spaces and oxygen.
A colleague of mine recently sent me a piece about London being home to the worlds largest urban forest. London? Surely not?
We listened to the Technology and Enabled Learning and Teaching Team from UCLAN about best practice in implementing digital change in educational institutions.
Azeus Convene is already being used by 10 universities across the country and a further 17 schools and colleges. So, we already know a fair bit about how technology can be used to empower transformational change in the education sector.
This week we thought we'd send our customers a small token of our appreciation for their continued support. In Green Convene fashion of course.
Here at Azeus Convene, we are passionate about two things. Environmental sustainablity and customer satisfaction. In fact, we are happiest when we can do both at once. So with the festive season fast approaching, we set out to do just that.
Christmas is a time of plenty - but what can be done to reduce our environmental impact during the holiday season?
Record levels of carbon emissions. School kids on strike. The hottest decade on record. It's fair to say that 2019 was a year of environmental reckoning and reflection. Christmas is a time for family, friends, food and festivities. It's also likely to be a time of great waste. We at Azeus Convene thought it would be a good idea to suggest some ways to minimise wastage and maximise sustainability! Good for your wallet. Good for our planet.
Another packed, exciting day for Convene yesterday, at the PSEICT Conference 2019 in the Victoria Plaza in London, meeting some of our existing customers and making new friends in the Public Sector. We were delighted by the number of delegates that came to see us at the Convene stand!
Last week, Convene sponsored the Forum and heard how the role of Company Secretary needs to change to meet the challenges faced by 21st century boards.
There are always two kinds of meetings in any organisation. The structured variety which form part of a compliant decision- making process and the collaborative sort, designed to promote free flowing conversations, with conclusions being arrived at by virtue of collective discussion. Microsoft and Slack are both designed for people who want to engage with others on a collaborative platform. You can view this type of team collaboration software while you are online with the majority of devices, for example, mobile phone, laptop or tablet.
The abiding virtual image presented by Aileen Evans (right) of Grand Union Housing Group to the Smarter
Working Conference a few weeks ago, was that one of their board members having a eureka moment whilst sitting by the pool in a far flung location.
It was great meeting so many people dedicated to driving digital transformation under one roof.
The focus of this year's ICSA annual conference was to prepare for the future of corporate boards with an emphasis on the need for businesses to have a purpose beyond profit and to be more environmentally conscious.
The NHF Housing governance conference rolled around, and after last year’s great experience of meeting old friends and with a new venue for this year, we very much looking forward to what lay ahead.
Corporate social responsibility (CSR) has been around for a long time but it has never really taken centre stage, until now. Over these last few years, there has been a monumental shift in the public’s awareness surrounding the impact we are having on our planet.
The ‘value’ of cybersecurity comes from the losses that have been prevented as a result of its implementation.
A mitigative perspective recognises that the best preventive measures are not impregnable.
This is the perspective that everyone probably thinks of when we talk about cybersecurity.
With high profile cyberattacks such as WannaCry and the Sony hack grabbing headlines globally, everyone is aware of the increasing risk of cyberattacks. As such, businesses across the globe have decided to dedicate more resources to their cybersecurity budget. In fact, Bloomberg reports that US financial firms have plans to further increase cybersecurity spending in 2019.
Corporate Governance at the ICSA Listed Companies Conference
Last week, Convene attended the annual AoC (Association of Colleges) Governance Summit in London, a high profile networking event for Governors, Chairs and Clerks committed to improving governance and board performance. This year, the conference talks highlighted ongoing hot topics for governance managers, like GDPR, Safeguarding and Leadership.
Convene was very excited to hear that our client, the DVLA, was hosting a second coding challenge for children between the ages of 7 to 14. And we couldn’t miss the opportunity to contribute and help sponsor this event.
This year, there was a buzz in the air around Brexit negotiations and an evident sense that change to enable a fairerfuture for counties, is being embraced across the UK.
Last week my colleague and I attended the PSEICT Conference in London. We wanted to know how we could better reach our potential customers, and the best way to do that is to find out what they were talking about.
Today I visited Loughborough, by train, to train the meeting organisers and board of our latest housing association customer. They used to use BoardPad but found that since its acquisition by Diligent that the platform no longer lives up to expectations.
After the last talk at the Government Digital Transformation Conference last week, I don’t think I will ever look at the phrase ‘digital transformation’ in the same way again. As Emma Stace (@emmastace) pointed out in her speech, digital transformation is also about changing the culture of a workplace, which is an ongoing process. Unfortunately, digital transformation is seen as a single task. Transform and you are done. And, as ever, there is a vast canyon separating policy and delivery. So, from now on, I will call it digital evolution.
Yesterday, I attended an Association of Colleges West Midlands Clerks’ Network meeting for the first time at Telford College. The day started of well, with me getting to snap this beautiful example of English countryside scenery:
How will the German offices of Adidas, Bayer, BBBank, and BMW deal with board security after this takeover?
Last Friday, when most of us in Europe were more concerned about beating the heatwave, American owned Diligent bought Germany’s Brainloop.
Having got through the 25th May ourselves, I was very keen to attend this panel discussion at this year's ICSA Conference.
Another year and another successful ICSA event. As the designated content person here at Convene, this is one of my favourite opportunities to find out what our clients and users of our board and meeting app are talking about.
What a difference a year can make! Walking up the stairs towards the entrance to Manchester Central’s enormous conference centre in the glorious sunshine felt a bit different to previous years. There was a more positive feeling in the air and lots of speakers ready to debate the hot topics.
On the 14th of June, we attended the National Housing Federation Governance Conference to exhibit our digital platform and board meeting app. This year's conference was all about getting a fresh perspective on leaner governance and more efficient housing associations, which meant that digitalisation was a key topic of discussion amongst the delegates.
Essex & Herts Air Ambulance (EHAAT) wanted to have more efficient board meetings and make the most of today's technology to improve sustainability. Trustees, board members, and senior management teams needed a secure system that was accessible on the go and which helped facilitate remote meetings.
On April 19th, 2018 Azeus Convene won the SaaS Enterprise Solution of the Year at the IT Europa awards.
This week, members of the Convene UK team will attend the European IT and Software Excellence awards in London.
St. Nicholas Hospice Care is a local charity that provides help, advice, and support to people from West Suffolk and Thetford who are living with long-term and life-threatening illnesses.
Last month, our Spanish speaking colleague (who also speaks two other languages), was in Madrid for the 15th Training Congress for Assistants and Management Assistants.
If you don’t frame it in terms of business longevity, sustainability becomes an altruistic activity which is ‘good to have’. It then gets relegated to periods of time when someone is in a good mood.
On November 23rd, 2017 Convene attended the Thomson Reuter’s Company Secretary Forum.
The Annual Healthcare Efficiency through Technology (HETT) Conference provides a unique opportunity for leaders in healthcare to share ideas with leading companies in health informatics, clinical technology, apps, medical devices, data analytics and data security as the NHS enters the digital age.
Jotting down the minutes of a meeting, drafting a longer account and getting them approved may seem like a boring administrative task. But in three years when this document is all that remains of the meeting that no-one can remember much of, it becomes a task of vital importance.
Cochrane is a global independent network of researchers, professionals, patients, carers and people interested in health. They are a not-for-profit organisation with contributors from more than 120 countries working together to produce credible, accessible health information that is free from commercial sponsorship and other conflicts of interest. They do this by producing reviews that summarize the best available evidence generated through research to inform decisions about health.
Dentsu Aegis Network is a company that helps clients build consumer relationships by communicating their products and brands effectively. Their distinctive and innovative range of products and services include marketing and communications strategies through digital creative execution, media planning and buying, mobile applications, SEO, content creation, brand tracking and marketing analytics.
After the board and senior management team had a chance to adjust to life after paper meetings, I got in touch with Karnak Chhatralia, Governance Officer at Big Lottery Fund, to ask a few questions.
What made you realise that you needed a digital meeting platform?
It’s been on the cards before I joined, but in essence it was to meet the changing needs of the business as well as the aims of our environmental and digital policies.
What was it about Convene that made you go, “This is the right solution for us”?
We had trialled several other platforms and felt that Convene offered the most versatility and functions, was easy to use and is a cost effective solution to move away from paper meetings.
Do you have any advice to share to people looking to procure a digital meeting platform?
Test out as many as you have the time (as well as patience) for. Understand what functions are important to you before you undertake any demo’s or trials. If you’re looking for more than just a meeting portal, make sure you understand the limitations of the applications before undertaking the trials. This will save valuable time and frustrations.
About Big Lottery Fund
The Big Lottery Fund is responsible for distributing 40 per cent of all funds raised for good causes (about 11 pence of every pound spent on a Lottery ticket) by the National Lottery - around £670 million last year.
Since June 2004 they have awarded over £9 billion to projects supporting health, education, environment and charitable purposes, from early years intervention to commemorative travel funding for World War Two veterans.
Find out more here.
Recent events have pushed organisations from all parts of the housing sector to look again at the reasons for decisions taken; from board minutes concerning governance and strategy to business minutes for financial and operational decisions.
At the ICSA Annual Conference this year, Peter Swabey talked about a study the ICSA conducted in 2016 about minute-taking. 100 governance professionals responded with opinions and insights into what constitutes good minute-taking and the governance around it.
Earlier this month our London team attended the Paperless Awards. Aimed at the Public Sector in the UK, The Paperless Awards recognise and celebrate exceptional progress towards the goal of becoming a paperless environment.
For over 30 years, the White Horse Housing Association (WHHA) has been building and managing homes in villages of the County of Wiltshire, the Borough of Swindon, and its surrounding areas. They focus on building homes that adhere to relevant environmental and space standards. WHHA is a charity registered with the Homes & Communities Agency and is a Community Benefit Society. They are also a member of the National Housing Federation.
Have you ever thought about remote working, flexible working or working from home?
Convene attended the NHF Housing Governance Conference in London on June 15th, 2017. This event was tailored specifically for company secretaries and governance professionals in housing. Topics ranged from Mergers and IDAs to practical tips and techniques for better governance.
A few weeks ago, our morning started with us complaining about the weather as we made our cups of coffee in our office kitchenette. We settled into our morning routine. Some on calls with clients, some demonstrating our product and me typing away at my keyboard.
It’s very easy to simply buy something that will ‘change the way to do business’, ‘improve productivity’ or ‘make the office sustainable’. However, it is also very easy to fall back into old habits.
Convene attended the MobileGov Wold Summit and Global mobileGov Awards in Brighton. This event promotes advances in the field where CIOs, CTOs, mGov employees, and other mobile ICT experts from around the world came together to share their expertise and discuss recent developments.
We celebrated a decade of progress on mobile public services and if you'd like to learn more about this topic, we recommend you to read our blog 'The adoption of the technology in the public sector' and our 'Mobile working' blog series.
Some of the topics covered at the show:
This year, World Password Day falls on May 4th. To many people, understanding online security can feel like dealing with issues in a galaxy far, far away. So today we are going to quickly look into multi-factor authentication.
Today Star Wars fans across the globe convene on social media to wish each other a good May 4th.
Basingstoke and Dean is a local goverment district and borough in Hampshire, England.
The AUA is the professional association for higher education administrators and managers. As well as being a representative voice for higher education professionals within the sector, the AUA also offers support and guidance to its members.
With Easter on the way, my social media stream is a flood of eco-friendly Easter egg colouring tips and indulgent chocolate recipes. Ten years ago, sustainability and eco-friendly practices were side notes or just for big businesses. Nowadays, social media is awash with content catered to my tree-hugging and chocolate loving habits. This realisation got me thinking: if holidays are becoming eco-friendly then surely businesses have become eco-friendlier in the past decade. Right?
Comic Relief is a major charity based in the UK which strives to create a just world, free from poverty. Founded by comedy scriptwriter Richard Curtis and comedian Lenny Henry in response to famine in Ethiopia in 1985, their mission is to drive positive change through the power of entertainment.
Millennials are the technology savvy generation changing the way the rest of us live, work and play. They are also the biggest and probably the most influential workforce in the world. Thanks to millennials, we are witnessing different, newer, and exciting ways of working in the modern digitalised workplace today.
In our last three blogs (read them here, here, and here), we have already elaborated how home working has established itself as beneficial not only for employees who are working from home but also for employers who have encouraged it. While this method unquestionably increases productivity of the professionals and reduces overall cost of office space for the employer, how can an employer manage their home-based employees? Let us explore some key management techniques.
Established in 1972, South Yorkshire Housing Association (SYHA) works with a clear aim to provide homes for vulnerable people. The Association has around 4,000 homes across North, South and West Yorkshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire regions in England.
In our last two blogs about homeworking (read here and here), we described how homeworking has become a popular trend among professionals and the advantages and disadvantages associated with this mode of working. In this blog, we will explore a list of ten tried and tested tips and tricks suggested by various experts for successful homeworking.
Built on the site of a former RAF airfield in 1957, Bristol Airport is a commercial airport located at Lulsgate Bottom in North Somerset serving the city of Bristol, England, and the surrounding area. It is the United Kingdom’s seventh largest airport handling over 7 million passengers per annum with approvals in place to handle 10 million passengers per year.
Sheffield Children's Trust is a NHS hospital trust mainly providing healthcare for children in Sheffield and the surrounding area of South Yorkshire. Although the trust itself was only formed in 1992, it runs the Sheffield Children's Hospital which has been providing care for the children and families of Sheffield and surrounding areas for over 125 years. It is one of only four specialist NHS Trusts in England providing care exclusively to children and young people, and has many other sites in the city.
With more than 33,000 homes across the North West, Yorkshire and the Midlands, Your Housing Group (YHG) is one of the UK’s largest housing providers. Their large and diverse portfolio ranges from general properties for social and affordable rent, through to retirement living developments and innovative private rental offers such as Hive.
In our last blog on home working, we explained how employees are seeking better work-life balance in today’s digital era, thereby making the option of working from home more viable and acceptable by companies. In fact, companies are increasingly adopting policies to enable more flexibility at the workplace and accommodate changing workplace demands and priorities. For employees looking to have more flexibility in their work, home working is a perfect solution where they can work remotely from home but continue to be treated like a normal employee and enjoy all the benefits provided by the company. However, although home working looks and sounds like an excellent concept, it does come with potential pitfalls to be aware of.
After Adoption is an independent adoption agency working throughout England and Wales to help all those affected by adoption. From placing children with adoptive parents to supporting birth families and reuniting families separated through adoption, they work with all groups of people affected by adoption. Over the past twenty years, they have pioneered work with birth mothers in prison, search and reunion services and work with adopted young people.
Established in 1889, Buckinghamshire County Council (Bucks County Council) is the upper-tier local authority for the non-metropolitan county of Buckinghamshire, England.
Valentine’s Day is tomorrow and love is in the air! But, unfortunately this year, Valentine’s Day is on a weekday. So, unless you are a truly dedicated romantic taking the day off, you will most likely end up spending the day of love in office, like the rest of us. Sad but true!
In our last two blogs about Millennials, we introduced this digitally native generation, and explained how they are the force behind the modern digital workplace. We also talked about a digital workplace and the various benefits it offers. However, no discussion on Millennials and digital workplaces will be complete without understanding a couple of things – firstly why Millennials want digitalisation in their workplace; and secondly how a company can create a digital workplace to retain its millennial employees. In this blog, we will be talking about these two aspects.
Walsall Housing Group (WHG), a non-profit housing corporation founded in March 2003 offers more than 20,000 affordable and community-based good quality homes in the borough of Walsall West Midlands.
Thanks to the advent of high-speed internet, mobile devices, and digital meeting platforms, homeworking has become the latest fad in today’s corporate world. While many companies are yet to accept it as the preferred means of working, no one can deny that the popularity of homeworking is on the rise.
The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is a UK government organisation responsible for maintaining databases of drivers and vehicles in Great Britain and the United Kingdom respectively. The agency issues driving licenses, organises collection of vehicle excise duty (also known as road tax and road fund license) and sells personalised registrations.
People around the world will gather to celebrate the Chinese New Year this weekend, which will mark the Year of the Rooster.
We are pleased to announce that Azeus Convene has been shortlisted for 'Most Innovative Housing App/ Online Tool' at the 2017 Housing Innovation Awards.
The Children and Family Court Advisory and Support Service (Cafcass) is a non-departmental public body in England that was set up to promote the welfare of children and families involved in family court. Formed in April 2001 under the provisions of the Criminal Justice and Court Services Act 2000, Cafcass is accountable to Parliament through the Ministry of Justice and is independent of courts, social services, education, health authorities and all similar government bodies.
We all have personal goals and resolutions for the new year, but how about a few resolutions to help us in the digital workplace?
- Have a secure password, and change it least twice a year.
There is a whole branch of study dedicated to passwords and that is Cryptography. You may think it’s just for top secret military code, but it's applicable to every one of us on a small scale as well.
Established first in 1870 as the National Union of Elementary Teachers (NUET), the National Union of Teachers (NUT) is a trade union for school teachers in England, Wales, Channel Islands, and Isle of Man. The NUT recruits both qualified teachers as well as those in the process for acquiring teaching qualifications. Currently, the union has over 300,000 members, making it the largest teachers' union in Europe.
Established in 1969 as the international arm of Fidelity Investments, Fidelity International offers world class investment solutions and retirement advisory. They are a privately owned, independent company that offers investment expertise, technology, and service innovation to help their clients achieve their financial goals.
Who are Millennials?
Are you 20-35 years old i.e. born between 1980 and 1994 (some stretch this to year 2000)? Well, if you are, then you might already know that you belong to a generation with a very distinct identity - you are a ‘millennial’. Various other names have been given to this generation – some are cool like Generation Y (because they follow the Generation X born between 1965-1979) and other unflattering ones like Echo Boomers, Gen Next, and of course Facebookers and MySpacers.
Established in 1838, Linklaters is a multinational law firm headquartered in London, United Kingdom. Their work is divided into three broad divisions for management purposes - Corporate, Dispute Resolution and Finance and Projects. For the year ended 30 April 2016, Linklaters generated revenues of £1,310.1 million, making it the world’s fourth highest-grossing law firm.
Founded in 1915 by Sir Arthur Pearson, Blind Veterans UK is the Blinded Soldiers' and Sailors' Care Committee providing free training, rehabilitation and lifelong support to the ex-Armed Forces and National Service personnel in the UK.
Sports England released a new code of Governance on the 31st of October 2016, which applies to any sports organisation that is applying for or in receipt of funding via Sport England or the National Lottery.
The code is made up of 3 Tiers
Tier 1 organisations in receipt of any grant(s) up to £250K
Tier 2 organisations in receipt of grant(s) £250K to £1mTier 3 organisations in receipt of grant(s) totalling £1m or more
I said it a bit too loud on my commute into work and half the carriage look round at me to see what it was I was looking at and then to wonder why I was talking to my ipad. What they were seeing was my first encounter with the ‘Conversations feature’ in the latest version of Convene. It is one of a number of updates that we have made to the system but much as I love the application it is probably the only one that would get me to shout out loud on the train.
America First Credit Union has been a Convene client for a year. America First Credit Union (AFCU) provides personal financial services of superior quality to its members and owners. It is the 7th largest credit union in terms of membership and 12th largest in terms of asset size in the US.Thayne Shaffer, Senior Vice President and Controller at America First Credit Union has explained their Convene journey. He has shared his experience on how Convene has helped their company to move from paper based to paperless meetings with better security and faster communication.
After our previous two articles – Exploring mobile working and its benefits and Mobile working – Barriers to adoption – it is time to understand how an organisation can strategise the implementation of mobile working.
Azeus Convene, a leading digital meeting software provider, has announced the launch of its new iOS and Android update, adding German, Italian, Spanish and Japanese to its list of supported languages. The latest Android update also include French, which was already there in the earlier version of iOS app. Previously, the Convene App supported English, French, Arabic, Simplified Chinese and Traditional Chinese.
This Tuesday, half of the Convene office set up a temporary base at Victoria Park Plaza for PSEICT.
When it comes to technology adoption and innovation, it might be intuitive to think that the private sector is a clear leader compared to public organisations and governments. In reality, most private organisations lack long-time vision and adequate risk appetite, claims economist Mariana Mazzucato in her book ‘The Entrepreneurial State’. According to Mariana, despite popular belief, the most innovative countries have their governments leading from the front as opposed to the private sector. She also observes that the private sector starts investing in innovation and advanced technology only after an “entrepreneurial state” has made the initial high-risk investments and paved the way for success.
In our previous article, Exploring mobile working and its benefits, we detailed the concept of mobile working and how it clearly has become interesting and how the potential benefits are too many and too good to be ignored. However, has mobile working gained as much popularity as it should have? Have individuals and organisations started adopting mobile working to the extent we would have wished? Probably not – let us explore some reasons why.
On November 1st, my colleagues and I attended a symposium at the University of Salford about mobility and device management. While talking with other attendees, we naturally turned to the numerous election scandals in the US, mainly because UKIP haven’t been in the spotlight for a few days.
It is unusual to think that the first app you might go for in an emergency at your workplace is your digital meetings app but you may about to be surprised as to how useful Convene can be in such a situation.
Convene contains three useful functions that could be indispensible for your organization in distributing emergency procedures and contact numbers.
- You can run Convene on any device this also includes your Android or Apple phone
- Convene has a built in document Library in which you can create a folder and assign the group(s) of users who can view the folder
- Convene has a function called my documents that allows you to view non-meeting documents on your device
The tremendous developments of science and technology in recent times have caused paradigm shifts not only in the ways organisations operate, but also every aspect of the workplace and the workforce.