One Voice Wales supports local councils with StarLeaf

About One Voice Wales

One Voice Wales is the national representative body for 735 community and town councils in Wales, in the UK. They are a strong voice for councils, ensuring their needs and interests are heard, as well as providing a range of services to help councils work effectively, including legal advice, training, news and updates on issues relevant to councils.

For One Voice Wales, the StarLeaf solution enables:

A peak of more than 32,000 call minutes in October 2020

Up to 60 meetings per month

Remote training delivered to local councils

Challenge

One Voice Wales works hard to support community and town councils across Wales. They offer a range of services, including delivering training to help local councils work at their best.

Although they had not used video conferencing before the coronavirus pandemic, the team at One Voice Wales were old hands at remote working. As Paul R. Egan, Deputy Chief Executive and Resources Manager says, ‘I’ve been working from home for years. I typically use phone calls and emails to stay in touch with my colleagues, and we only occasionally meet up at our office.’

It’s reliable, it’s easy to use, and it works. I see One Voice Wales using StarLeaf well into the future
Paul R. Egan, Deputy Chief Executive and Resources Manager, One Voice Wales

When it came to delivering training, One Voice Wales employees would travel by car to meet local councils in their own offices. This worked well – trainers and councils alike appreciated the ease of in-person sessions – but it meant long hours on the road for staff, travelling to remote areas all over Wales.

Meeting up in-person became impossible in March 2020 as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic reached the UK. Although One Voice Wales trainers could no longer travel or meet in person, the pandemic also put huge pressure on councils. The support One Voice Wales provides was needed more than ever. Paul and his team started looking for a solution.

Solution

Video conferencing seemed an ideal to solution to help One Voice Wales trainers support councils safely during the pandemic. Everyone would be able to join in from the comfort and safety of their own homes. Paul identified key priorities for a video conferencing provider. The service had to be:

  • Easy to use to make training accessible for participants who may not have much experience or confidence with video.
  • Secure to keep councils’ and One Voice Wales’s data safe, and help everyone fulfil their data protection obligations.
  • Reliable to make remote training as much like in-person training as possible, and avoid frustrations of poor quality audio and video, or of calls dropping altogether.

The pandemic also meant that One Voice Wales needed a solution they could deploy to staff remotely. That meant looking for video conferencing which would work on desktops or other devices staff had at home, and which was intuitive to use so staff could get started with minimal guidance.

Paul’s research led him to StarLeaf. It met his requirements, and would let the team get back to training as quickly as possible.

Results

With StarLeaf, One Voice Wales continues to support local councils across Wales throughout the ongoing pandemic, while keeping everyone safe. During October 2020, One Voice Wales racked up more than 32,000 call minutes, over more than 55 meeting sessions.

Paul says that problems have been minimal. Staff members and councillors who previously lacked confidence with IT solutions have taken to StarLeaf with gusto. StarLeaf has been a success, and has proved a reliable and effective way for teams to deliver training.

In fact, Paul sees StarLeaf changing the way One Voice Wales works long term, even after the pandemic. While he says video will never fully replace in-person meetings and sessions with councils, he and his colleagues really appreciate not having to spend hours driving to and from council sessions, leaving them with more time and lowering travel costs for everyone. ‘It’s reliable, it’s easy to use, and it works. I see One Voice Wales using StarLeaf well into the future,’ Paul says. He predicts that the team will combine in-person and video sessions when the coronavirus pandemic has passed, travelling when they need to, and saving plenty of time and effort when they don’t.

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