Why State or Regional Government Meetings Need Meeting Management Software
Whether it’s a state government, a regional agency, or a local council, municipal organizations need to follow procedures and provide transparency to members of the public. Because state and regional governments often have more than 100 representatives, a wide array of responsibilities, and a larger constituent population, the administrative complexity of having orderly and efficient meetings is greater.
While it’s the Microflex Complete conference units that sit in front of the meeting participants to allow discussion to take place, it’s actually the SW6000 conference management software that permits these larger legislative meetings to be run efficiently and in such a way that they adhere to official procedures and meet legal obligations. In a previous article we discussed Why Local City Councils Need Meeting Management Software; here are some examples of how the hardware and software work hand in hand to meet the needs of state and regional governments.
How Software Manages Meeting Participants
In government organizations, people are often differentiated by their unique roles, rights, or privileges. For example, senior representatives (subcommittee chairpersons, for example) might be entitled to speak before regular representatives as a gesture of respect.
The software permits each representative to be assigned a role and group affiliation in addition to their name, title, location, or other information. The role or group can be connected to specific benefits such as priority speaking order, extended speech time, voting weight, etc. Whenever someone belonging to that group speaks, the defined settings are applied by the system automatically.
Controlling the Discussion
Perhaps the most essential function of a conference system is to control access to a microphone, whether participants speak from a central podium or from their seat. In either case, it is just as critical to manage the speaking order fairly and effectively as it is to provide crystal-clear audio transmission.
The conference system software gives the chairman or secretary several options to remotely controlling the microphones -- at individual seats or at a podium -- even for a large group of speakers. In a state or regional legislature, it is likely that multiple people will request to speak (or reply to the current speaker) at the same time. SW6000 software can sort the request list in the order received or by assigned speaking priority to ensure that they are given the floor in the appropriate order. The Chairman or administrator is also free to move a speaker up or down the list manually. When a microphone is activated, the software can also automatically set the correct speech time limit for that person.
Manage the Agenda for More Effective Meetings
Agenda management is much more than a simple list of things to be talked about; it may contain important information that supports the decision-making process. While local city governments might have just a few items on the agenda for each meeting, a state or regional government may have several, each of which has subordinate items.
The SW6000 software allows up to 1000 agenda items occupying up to 6 levels. Each topic can be assigned a starting time (so that interested parties know when they need to be present), a time limit for discussion, and a list of pre-assigned speakers if needed. If the agenda is made available to participants beforehand, they may submit requests in advance to speak on particular topics. Supplementary files or documents can also be attached if necessary.
Software Does the Math, Keeps Track of Details
Once the discussion of a particular topic is complete, a vote can be taken to resolve a decision or commit to further action. Voting adds an additional layer of complexity to meetings, because governments may have different laws specifying who can vote, how votes will be counted, and how the outcome will be determined.
SW6000 software can automate these procedures to ensure that every meeting complies with the rules. It can take attendance to determine if there is a sufficient quorum – including certain officers whose presence is essential. It allows different voting formats (Yes/No, Yes/No/Abstain, etc.) to be selected. When a vote is completed, the software automatically calculates whether it has passed using the specific formula that complies with state laws.
Making Meetings Accessible to the Public
In many jurisdictions, the minutes of a state or regional government meeting must be made available to the public. While downloadable minutes or transcripts are typically mandatory, audio or video live streams and/or recordings are also common.
The first step is to keep records of who was in attendance, who spoke and on what topics, who voted, and how they voted. With SW6000 software, an electronic data log of every meeting is automatically created, allowing event organizers to quickly generate reports that document attendance, speaker activity, and voting. This facilitates accurate meeting minutes and transcripts that can be shared with the public and participants.
SW6000 software can also feed real-time meeting data to the video streaming/recording system, so that the speaker’s name, agenda topic, or other information can be overlaid on the screen. This can also be used to create an archival recording that is searchable by date, speaker name, subject, or other data, allowing the viewer to jump directly to the relevant point in the recording.
The versatile functionality of SW6000 Conference Management Software with the Microflex® Complete Digital Conference System can play a key role in supporting these meetings, ensuring they not only run smoothly but offer a greater overview of information to enhance positive perceptions of regional government.
A conference system with integrated hardware and software is a powerful combination that streamlines the legislative process. SW6000 software is a great tool for use in state, regional, and local government meetings, particularly when data has to be captured accurately, then shared efficiently. Ultimately, the greater administrative control you have, the smoother and more productive your meetings will be.
Required SKUs to implement:
- SW6000 Conference Meeting Management Software (includes one SW6000-CAA Conference Administrator Application and one SW6000-CUA Conference User Application)*
- SW6000-VOTE Software Enabled Voting
*Additional licenses available based on staff requirements