Case Study

Using Connect Remote for Council meetings

Moray Council

Case Study

Using Connect Remote for Council meetings

Moray Council

Background

Moray Council have been webcasting with Public-i for many years and consequently, the Council wanted, if possible, to keep current meetings transparent even if they are taking place via video conference.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, Moray Council suspended all Committees and created an Emergency Cabinet to convene when required. The first meeting of the Emergency Cabinet was held via teleconference and the management of the meeting was quite laborious as well as not being visible to the public.

We received an email from Public-i inviting Councils to have a look at their newly developed Connect Remote which would allow the live webcasting of meetings whilst being held virtually. Following an impressive demonstration, Moray Council was one of the earliest adopters of the new platform in Scotland.

Implementation

Implementation was very easy. Before the first meeting, we carried out a test meeting to ensure that the Councillors, who sat on the Emergency Cabinet, and Officers were able to access and use the platform. This ironed out some issues (mostly on our side due to the Council’s firewall) to allow the first meeting to run smoothly.

Public-i were great when we were getting started and were on hand to help with any issues. We’re now flying solo but assured that Public-i are there if we need them.

We have held 2 further training sessions to ensure all Councillors are familiar with the platform.

We have now held 4 meetings using the new platform, which has been so successful that our first Full Council with all 26 Councillors is taking place on 17 June 2020. The feedback from Councillors and Officers has been really positive.

Lessons learned

Moray is an area that doesn’t have good broadband coverage so we have set up 2 PCs in the Council building which are available for any Councillors to use who have connection issues.

As we have got to grips with the system we have created a brief for the Chair, who, at the start of each meeting, sets out housekeeping tips, including mics and cameras off when not speaking, using the hands up button to indicate wishing to speak. As each meeting has been held we’ve learnt things and the meetings are definitely getting slicker.

Under normal circumstances we only have one Committee Services Officer (CSO) attending the meetings, however, we’ve found that using Connect Remote, 2 members of staff ‘attend’ the meeting. One is minuting and managing the meeting and the other is monitoring the chat function and dealing with any technical issues as we found it was too much for one member of staff to deal with.

It has definitely benefited doing the tests before going live to ensure everyone knew what they were doing.

What’s next?

Due to the success with the Emergency Cabinet, we are now looking at rolling out Connect Remote to all our Committee meetings. The introduction of the e-voting is also something that we are looking forward too as life gets back to the new normal.

We currently have the 2 Committee Services Officers as the moderators, however, we are looking at moving to the Chair and a CSO being the moderators.

Visit Moray site

Background

Moray Council have been webcasting with Public-i for many years and consequently, the Council wanted, if possible, to keep current meetings transparent even if they are taking place via video conference.

With the outbreak of Covid-19, Moray Council suspended all Committees and created an Emergency Cabinet to convene when required. The first meeting of the Emergency Cabinet was held via teleconference and the management of the meeting was quite laborious as well as not being visible to the public.

We received an email from Public-i inviting Councils to have a look at their newly developed Connect Remote which would allow the live webcasting of meetings whilst being held virtually. Following an impressive demonstration, Moray Council was one of the earliest adopters of the new platform in Scotland.

Implementation

Implementation was very easy. Before the first meeting, we carried out a test meeting to ensure that the Councillors, who sat on the Emergency Cabinet, and Officers were able to access and use the platform. This ironed out some issues (mostly on our side due to the Council’s firewall) to allow the first meeting to run smoothly.

Public-i were great when we were getting started and were on hand to help with any issues. We’re now flying solo but assured that Public-i are there if we need them.

We have held 2 further training sessions to ensure all Councillors are familiar with the platform.

We have now held 4 meetings using the new platform, which has been so successful that our first Full Council with all 26 Councillors is taking place on 17 June 2020. The feedback from Councillors and Officers has been really positive.

Lessons learned

Moray is an area that doesn’t have good broadband coverage so we have set up 2 PCs in the Council building which are available for any Councillors to use who have connection issues.

As we have got to grips with the system we have created a brief for the Chair, who, at the start of each meeting, sets out housekeeping tips, including mics and cameras off when not speaking, using the hands up button to indicate wishing to speak. As each meeting has been held we’ve learnt things and the meetings are definitely getting slicker.

Under normal circumstances we only have one Committee Services Officer (CSO) attending the meetings, however, we’ve found that using Connect Remote, 2 members of staff ‘attend’ the meeting. One is minuting and managing the meeting and the other is monitoring the chat function and dealing with any technical issues as we found it was too much for one member of staff to deal with.

It has definitely benefited doing the tests before going live to ensure everyone knew what they were doing.

What’s next?

Due to the success with the Emergency Cabinet, we are now looking at rolling out Connect Remote to all our Committee meetings. The introduction of the e-voting is also something that we are looking forward too as life gets back to the new normal.

We currently have the 2 Committee Services Officers as the moderators, however, we are looking at moving to the Chair and a CSO being the moderators.

Visit Moray site