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The Financial Ombudsman Service (FOS) is responsible for providing an independent external dispute resolution service for the financial services industry.
Approved by the Australian Securities and Investment Commission, FOS provide free, impartial and accessible services to consumers who are unable to resolve disputes with financial service providers.
Enabling a paperless boardroom and improving corporate governance
FOS holds up to six board meetings, 10 committee meetings and 24 group executive meetings, annually. With a minimum of 11 board packs being produced for each board meetings, consisting of approximately 400 pages each, the service experienced significant costs in producing and distributing board packs.
With increasing sophistication of its operations, FOS required better version control over individual reports, as well as stronger security of the information contained in the board packs. FOS strives to apply the principles of good corporate governance and so began to investigate electronic alternatives to paper board packs.
FOS had a number of requirements when considering an electronic solution. The foremost, vital for acceptance of any electronic solution, was that it had to be easy to use for directors and executives. Security was also a big factor with administrators requiring a high level of content control. After alternatives were considered, BoardPad was chosen due to the user experience being more intuitive for directors.
From a director’s perspective
After initial resistance to a paperless solution from some board members, they began to see the benefits of BoardPad quickly. Since implementing BoardPad, directors have enjoyed; the comfort of not carrying around heavy hard copies, the ability to annotate documents quickly and easily, ease of finding these annotations at a later date, and the convenience of being able to search through the board pack for specific terms.
“BoardPad allows the directors to have pertinent information readily available to them as, and when, they need it, rather than having to search through hard copies of papers that they may, or may not, have retained”, says Nicolas Crowhurst, Company Secretary. Their confidence in using BoardPad was backed up by knowing they could call the 24/7 support line, whenever needed.
From a meeting organiser’s perspective
Since implementing BoardPad, meeting organisers have been impressed with the capacity to create and send out board packs with ease. BoardPad has proven to be an effective and valuable solution for the FOS administration team.
“I like the ease of uploading and managing meetings, and the ability to release papers at specific points in time and to make amendments and add papers. Essentially, I now use BoardPad for all information flow through to the board. From Action and News items, to uploading reports into Reading Rooms, it is far easier than trying to manage the information flow through emails”, says Nicolas.
The introduction of BoardPad was part of an overall e-enablement strategy that has seen significant savings across the organisation. The transition to a paperless boardroom has been a success for the Financial Ombudsman Service. BoardPad significantly reduced the costs and time associated with the collation of traditional paper board packs. It has allowed directors to instantly receive and access their board papers, wherever they are.
We did evaluate one other potential solution, but the end user experience with BoardPad appeared more intuitive.