Digitalising meetings: Going live with Office 365


The success of the integration into a digital way of working during the COVID period:

As we all know, March 2020 was the start of a major transformation for the whole world with the traditional “office based working” coming to a sudden halt as the COVID and Lockdown periods took the country by storm.

On the 4th June, 2020, Blackburn with Darwen Council hosted their first live streamed public meeting with over 60 participants. This can be viewed here - 04.06.20: Annual Council 2020 - YouTube.

The group did an amazing job at the beginning of the lockdown period converting over to a virtual way of working as seen through the definite success of the Teams live rollout.

The team went above and beyond in overcoming challenges including: finding Teams Live compatible devices, providing the necessary training on how to use these devices in order to have the most efficient meetings through Teams Live and finally the roll out of Intune and delivering mobile phones as well as the necessary devices to the members of the council who required them.

Consequently, this resulted in a smooth and effective meeting for both the councillors and democratic services involved. This in turn highlighted Blackburn with Darwen Councils’ efficiency in converting over to an online and progressive way of working.

CEO Denise Park stated that

"We’ve had to adapt to new ways of working and embrace technology at a really fast pace because of the pandemic.”

“I’m very proud of the progress we’ve made, people have worked really hard to get this ready.”

As a result of the work done by the Office 365 team, it was evident that even though clear obstacles were faced with Mohammed Khan stating that councillors would obviously “prefer to meet face to face for formal, public meetings”, key decisions about the future of the borough were still able to be made allowing democratic processes to keep going.

These are our tips and tricks for hosting a successful Teams Live Event:

  • Rehearse! Rehearse! Rehearse! The value of dry runs before hosting a live event cannot be understated, especially if it involves a large number of presenters.
  • Set a clear meeting etiquette so everyone knows when to turn on their microphone and video – this makes it easier for the producers working away behind the scenes to keep the live stream running seamlessly.
  • Always have more than one producer; one can keep the on-screen feed running while the other can ensure any disruptions from inadvertently un-muted microphones are kept to a minimum.
  • Keep content simple! Got many presentations that need to be shared during your event? Try creating one long presentation that matches your agenda to save having to switch screens in the middle of the broadcast.
  • To avoid breaks in live streaming of visuals, producers can use the split screen option to share a presentation (or other screen content) in the large window and show the camera feed in the smaller window so there’s always something on screen if the next person’s camera is not quite ready when switching.

 Written By: Thomas Fawcett


O365 , Teams , Teams Live

By Liz Woodruff on 10th Dec 2020
Liz Woodruff is a Project Manager at Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council