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After Adoption is an independent adoption agency working throughout England and Wales. Their adoption panels help place vulnerable children in loving homes.

Nigel Foxon-Hale, Senior Administrator at After Adoption, tells us why they use Convene for their adoption panel meetings.

Zero Paper and Printing Costs

“We use Convene for all our adoption panel meetings, which are made up of around ten professionals such as social workers and lawyers, and assess the suitability of people to adopt.

There are a lot of papers for each meeting. There’s the prospective adopters report, for example, which could be 50 pages long, so multiply that by 10 panel members, that’s 500 pages to print out for each case, which wastes a lot of paper, takes up time, and blocks the photocopying machine at the office. And that’s just one report. There are other documents that need to go to the panel too, such as technical sheets and feedback forms, so each case could be 60-80 pages long. And then each panel might be looking at five cases, so it balloons into an awful lot of paper.

Convene helps us send all this information digitally so everyone gets all the documents at the same time without having to rely on the post.”

Sensitive Information is Secure

“Adoption panels deal with a lot of sensitive information so confidentiality and data protection are our highest priorities. We need to make sure that when we’re storing or sharing information that it’s done as securely as possible, which with Convene is easy. If you’re sending out copies in the post you must anonymise all the reports to remove surnames, so that if a package is lost data protection isn’t breached. That used to take several hours for each panel meeting. But with Convene it’s sent out on a secure server so we don’t have to anonymise documents, which saves a lot of time.”

Save Time and Work Efficiently

“Apart from the time spent anonymising the documents, we estimated it took at least two hours to amend, print, weigh the pack and put it in the post, and if there was a last minute change you had to do it all again. Whereas with Convene, we can do the whole thing in 20 minutes. When you consider how many adoption panels we have each year, that amounts to a lot of staff time saved. Even if we need to send out new or revised documents after the meeting has been published it automatically sends the new information to all attendees. That makes our life so much easier, because it’s instant.”

Share Information with Select Personnel or the Whole Organisation

“It only took us a couple of hours to learn how to use Convene because the software is straightforward and simple to use. That’s good, because we wanted something that panel members could easily use in their own homes.

The document library is really handy too. We have different adoption panels in Birmingham and Manchester and people are coming to them from all over the country, so if people in the midlands panel are talking about a particular piece of research or legislation, and there are documents it would be useful to share with other panel members, for example, we’ll put those documents in the library so that other panel members working on other hearings can read them too. It enables us to share information across the whole organisation.

Convene definitely leads to better panel meetings because we can be sure that all the panel members have the most up-to-date information. We’re trying to place vulnerable children with high-quality adopters, and this software helps us speed that process along. It’s a very good product. Going back to paper would be a nightmare!”

Interview with Nigel Foxon-Hale, Senior Administrator at After Adoption.

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