Guide: Set up a virtual meeting
Manual for setting up a company meeting: agenda, associated documentation and voting parameters for each item on the agenda.
To use the Cercles.Coop voting platform, you must have requested the creation of your own application. Therefore, in order to implement the steps in the manual, we assume that you already have an instance and a chosen video broadcasting system available.
To set up the facility at administrator level, you can consult more extensive documentation at https://docs.decidim.org. However, if you want to use the specific functionalities to prepare the corporate meeting that CoopCat has validated, we recommend that you only follow this guide.

Registration as administrators on the Cercles.Coop platform

When registering on the CerclesCoop platform, you will receive an email to the email address provided in the registration form with the specific access link to the platform for the cooperative's administrator (check the spam filter).
This link will be unique for each cooperative and will lead to the management space through which the administrator will create all the company meetings and participatory processes that he/she wishes, without limitations.
By clicking on the link, the voting platform opens and a login form appears on the screen: the password appears by default and all you have to do is create a password, confirm it and accept the general Terms and Conditions of Cercles.coop platform. You must remember your administrator password, otherwise you can create a new password by clicking on Forgot your password?, as shown in the following image:
Once you have registered, you will enter the platform directly and you will have to accept the Terms and Conditions, in this case, as platform administrators. Then all the options of the admin dashboard appear on the screen. In the menu on the right-hand side of the screen you will see the admin dashboard option, as shown in the image below:
Once it has been verified that the initial administrator can access the platform and begin to enter data to prepare the company meeting, it will be necessary to access the Participants > Administrators section and delete as administrator the user CoopCat, who initially appears as administrator as a result of having registered the institution.

Preparing the company meeting

If you use the service offered by Cercles.Coop you will already have created by default the content of the sections Pages and Areas of the configuration area and, therefore, you can go directly to the creation of the Consultation.
The standard text provided in the Pages section must be adapted to incorporate the data of each cooperative.

Information pages

In the Pages section we can edit the contents of the explanatory pages. Specifically, you can create, edit and delete them. We can create the pages we need and it will be necessary to create the following ones:
  • FAQ (frequently asked questions) pages/faq
  • Terms and conditions pages/terms-and-conditions
  • Accessibility pages/accessibility

Scopes

Before creating a voting process (consultation), we need to create a scope. The areas are used to classify the types of participatory processes, for example: members' consultations, governing councils, assemblies..., if we do not expect to have a variety of areas on which to carry out consultations or voting processes, we can create a single area called, for example, "society meeting" and then we can create a specific sub-area, for example, "General Assembly".
In the course of this manual we will use the examples of the Meeting to define the scope and the Assembly to define the sub-scope.
In the section Settings > Scopes, click on Add, at the top right.
  • Title: Meeting
  • Code: meeting
Once the general area has been created, click on Meeting and in it we will be able to add a sub-area that we will call:
  • Title: Assembly
  • Code: assembly
The text of the code section may not contain spaces or full stops.

Consultation

The consultation module is the one we will use to organise the votes for a given meeting, the agenda and the associated documentation. If we go to the section Consultations we can create as many as we want by clicking on the button New consultation on the top right..
We will schedule assemblies and other social meetings through the Consultations section. The Assemblies section is a predefined section of the Decidim platform and has a different functionality that does not currently meet the needs of cooperatives in terms of all the necessary social voting options.
We must fill in the following fields:
  • Title. For example: Ordinary General Assembly 2020
  • Subtitle. For example: Assemblea anual de socis de la Cooperativa, SCCL.
  • Description: State all the information on how to participate in the assembly. For example: Link to the videoconference platform, time of first and second call...
  • Start the vote: Date of the assembly
  • Voting ends: Date of the meeting
  • Highlighted scope: A drop-down menu will open and we will have to choose the initial scoope. For example: Meeting
  • Short URL name (without spaces or punctuation). For example: assemblea-general-2020
Other recommended camps:
  • Banner image: You can put a corporate image. The size of the banner will be 1105x128. We offer a model.
  • Introductory video URL: You can post an explanatory video or the video of the broadcasting.
I f we embed the video through a broadcasting system, such as youtube, we can add it to the Introductory video URL field as explained here.
Until you click on Publish the consultation will not be visible to users.
The consultation will only open on the date indicated. However, members can enter the platform to consult the agenda and the associated documentation, but they will not be able to vote.
When we want to open the vote, we will change the date from Start the vote to the day before the date of the company meeting, when we want to close the vote we will change the date from Voting ends on the day before the date of the coop meeting.
Once we have filled in the general information, we will have to create the questions of the consultation and subsequently the answers. Once the questions have been created, the option to publish the consultation will appear in the general information section of the consultation. That is to say, until we have created the questions with the corresponding answers and enabled them, we will not be able to enable the consultation.

Questions of the consultation

Within the Consultation created we can create all the possible questions and answers. The questions are equivalent to each item on the agenda of the meeting and the answers to the sense of the vote that corresponds to each question. Click on Questions in the left-hand side menu and then New Question by clicking on the top right-hand button.
When we prepare the questions, the first question we will ask, at the edge of the agenda of the meeting, will be to confirm attendance. In other words, we will create a first question (for example: Attendance confirmation) with only one possible answer to validate user authenticity (for example: I confirm attendance). Read more
To create the questions, we have to fill in the following fields:
  • Title. For example: Presentation and approval, if appropriate, of the 2019 Sustainability Report of the Cooperativa, SCCL.
  • Subtitle Per exemple: A la primera pregunta de l'ordre del dia sotmetem a votació la memòria de sustentabilitat 2019 de la cooperativa
  • Promoter group: Here we will detail who submits the question to the company meeting. For example: Governing Council (in the case that we hold the Assembly)
  • Participatory scope. Just a text explaing the scope. For example: 2021 Assembly
  • What is to be decided: You can detail the general or most important aspects of this item on the agenda.
  • Municipal area: Select the sub-area using the drop-down menu. For example: Assembly
  • URL short name (without spaces or punctuation). For example: question-1
As you can see, once you click on the question you have created, more options appear on the left-hand side menu. Specifically, the following options appear: Information, Configuration, Answers, Components, Categories and Attachments. To ensure correct functioning, we recommend that you only use the following two options: Answers and Attachments.
Therefore, by clicking on these two options we can configure these parameters:
  • Responses: We can create all the answers we need according to the question, usually it will be: In favour, Against, Abstention.
  • Attachments: In this section we can upload all the attached documentation related to the question (item on the agenda) in question.
Remember that in order to publish and, therefore, make a question visible in the user area of the platform, it is necessary to create the answers associated with the question.
We will reserve the first question for accreditation. The purpose of this question is to find out the quorum and for members to authenticate their identity. The question will have a single answer to confirm attendance where all those attending will be asked to vote in their own name and with any proxy votes they may have available. Read more
We recommend always including the answer "abstention" for each question, so that we can have a specific quorum of participation for each question.
In order to guarantee the correct functioning of the proxy voting option, nothing must be touched in the configuration section under questions section. Therefore, you will not be able to access the options indicated above, which are: Configuration, Components and Categories.
Once you have completed the steps, all the questions will appear on the screen, as shown in the image:
Before publishing the question we must ensure that we link the identity verification permissions of the people who will vote on the question. To do this, click on the icon in the shape of a key.
At Cercles.Coop we recommend that the following options are ticked in all questions: Direct verification and SMS.
This means that only people who have been invited through the virtual social census (direct verification) and who have also validated the authenticity of their identity by means of an accreditation that they receive on their own mobile phone will be able to vote on the questions of the assembly or any other social meeting.
Once the access permissions for the question have been configured, we can click on the icon in the shape of a rainbow and at the end of the question configuration form the function to publish the question will be enabled.

Import census of members

The virtual register of members allows us to record the details of the members who attend the company meeting and which will be used to authenticate their identity and also to determine the weight of the vote (only in cases where the weighted vote is defined by statutes) and the delegated vote.
In order to be able to incorporate the virtual census of members, we will have to go to the admin dashboard > Participants > Verifications > Direct Verifications
We will be able to test the import and see the results, without actually importing, if we have checked the option (checked by default) Check users status.
The census has to be elaborated in a spreadsheet document. We will save this spreadsheet in CSV format (do not save in odt format, or xls, or xsls...). In the first row of this full calculation, which corresponds to the caption, we will place the following text, separated by commas and without spaces (you can copy and paste the sample):
1
email,name,membership_phone,membership_type,membership_weight
Copied!
The files that we will fill in next will be the data of the members, where in each row we will put the data of a different member. Remember to separate the fields with commas and spaces, as shown in the example:
1
email,name,membership_phone,membership_type,membership_weight
2
[email protected],Joana Garcia,+3476318371,consumidor,1
3
[email protected],Miquel Puig,+34653565765,treballador,1
4
[email protected],Martina Grau,+34653565761,col·laborador,0.67
5
[...]
Copied!
Fields description:
  • email: Member's email address, through which he/she will be accredited as a user of the voting platform.
  • name: Name and surname of the member. In this field we can add accents, diacritics, dashes and spaces. The system automatically takes the information from this field to assign a user name or alias to the member.
  • membership_phone: member's mobile phone, through which he/she will authenticate his/her identity at the beginning of the meeting. It must start with code of the country like +34
  • membership_type: Type of member. This data will be used, together with the membership weight, to show results grouping members of the same type and voting weight. Therefore, it is important to unify the criteria for the type of members, which will usually be: common, consumer, employee, worker, collaborator.
  • membership_weight: Voting weight. This numerical figure indicates the weight of each member's vote. The number will be variable according to what is determined by the law of cooperatives and the bylaws. For cooperatives that do not have a voting weighting stipulated in their bylaws, this number will always be 1. If a member's weighted vote is not a whole number, separate the digits with a dot. For example: 0.8
Important! When we import the census of members, they will automatically receive an e-mail invitation to access and register a password to the voting platform. Therefore, members, as they register, will be able to see all the content that the administrator has published.
We must ensure that the consultation and the questions published are the ones we want to have available so that members can consult and reflect before the meeting, but we will need to have the date of the start of the consultation at a future date, so as not to allow voting until the day of the meeting.
It is advisable to have previously explained to the members that they will receive this invitation through which they will be shown a registration form and will have to write a password (which they will have to remember) to formalise the registration. You will also need to recommend to check SPAM box.
When we want to import the census, which at the same time implies the automatic issuing of an invitation to members to access the platform, we have to change the option selected by default Check users status and check Register users in the platform (if they exist they will be ignored) together with Authorise users.
If we need to update any data on the virtual membership list (telephone number, type of membership or voting weighting) we can use the same system and format. First, we will have to revoke this member to validate it again and we will do it with the option Revoke the authorisation of the users and, later, with Authorise the users, already with the corrected data. You clould do that also clicking Authorized users button
If the administrator managing the instance is also a member of the cooperative with voting rights, this user must also be registered and verified through the virtual census along with the other members, even if he/she is registered on the platform as an administrator.

Voting delegations

If you need to make voting delegations, you can do so at Participants > Delegations
We can make delegations for different consultations (different meetings). By clicking on New delegation, we will create the configuration for the consultation we want. By means of the drop-down menu we will select the consultation on which we will enable the proxy voting option and in the field Max grants we will indicate the maximum number of proxies that a member can receive.
Once the proxy voting option is enabled and configured, click on Delegation to configure the members who will grant their proxy vote and the members who will receive it. To do this, click on the New Participant button.
We will be able to select who is the granter of the vote and to whom he/she delegates (grantee) by writing the name of the member:
If you don't know the user's name, you can view it in the Participants > Participants management. Also, remember that the user's name corresponds to the information in the Name field that has been entered in the virtual register of members.
For example, if in the virtual census we have indicated that we have a member called Martina Garauch, her alias will be martina-garauch or, depending on how we have entered the census, the alias can also be the letters and digits preceding the @ symbol in the email, such as: [email protected], then the alias would be mgarauch
IMPORTANT: if a member has notified the cooperative that he/she is delegating his/her vote, but on the day of the meeting he/she decides to attend in person, the administrator can remove this member's delegation of vote and automatically disable the vote delegated to the member who was the recipient.

Society meeting

Congratulations, we have everything ready for the meeting!
We have a Consultation with its questions published, as explained above. We have configured the Consultation to open at a future date, to allow members to access the Consultation where they will see the agenda (Questions) with the corresponding documentation, but they cannot vote yet.

Votations

When it is time to start the meeting and we want to open the vote, we will change the date from Voting begins to the day before the meeting is held, when we want to close the vote we will change the date from Voting ends on the day before the meeting is held.

Accreditations

As detailed in the section on questions, we will have a first question that will be used to carry out the accreditations. When the voting process begins, members will be asked to answer this first question. The purpose is, on the one hand, to verify the authenticity of the member and, on the other hand, to establish the quorum that participates in the company meeting. This question, as indicated above, will only have a single answer option, of the type "I confirm attendance". For this question, all those attending will be asked to vote in their own name and, in the case of proxy votes, also to vote with the name of any proxy votes they may have been assigned.

Remainder of votes

The people in charge of the meeting will guide and explain the questions point by point and indicate when each vote is taken. If for some reason some questions condition others or there is a limited time to vote on a specific question and then no more votes are accepted, we will control it by publishing or unpublishing the question, by going to the admin dashboard > Consultations > Consultation in question > Questions > Question in question, at the end of the form you will find the Publish/Unpublish button.
When it is time to vote, you can vote by clicking on the Vote button in each question. The voting will be indicated below the voting button. If they click on the button, they will vote in their own name, but if they click on the under the button, they will be able to vote in the name of the people who have delegated their vote to them:
Once voted, and while the question is published and the voting period is open, the voter may revoke (cancel) his or her vote and change the meaning of the vote. If you want to prevent the possibility of changing the vote, as mentioned above, the question will have to be unpublished when you want to close the voting on it.

Results visualization

When the meeting or the time established for voting is over, to view the results the administrator must return to the configuration of the Consultation (Admin Dashboard > Consultations, click on the name of the Consultation in question and change the date Voting ends on a day prior to the date of the meeting. Then, click on the Update button and a new option, Results, will automatically appear on the left sidebar.
In this section of Results we can see, for each question, the quantified answers by type of member and weight of the vote that we have defined in the census.

Publication of results

When we close the consultation and, therefore, the votes, in the section Consultation > Configuration, at the bottom of the page, a new button appears which is Publish the results.
If your co-operative does not have a voting weighting by statutes and, therefore, the weight of each member's vote is 1, we can show the results of each question on the voting platform itself by clicking on the Publish results button, indicated above. This way of showing the results of the vote can also be used if, in the case described above, you have also used proxy voting.
If your cooperative or federation has a weighted vote and, therefore, the vote count requires calculations related to the type of seats, vote weighting, qualified majorities... Do not publish the results. The administrators will have to make the calculation according to the information that appears on the administration table Results and the results will be communicated to the members through other channels.
For example: While the administrators are doing the calculations, they can share the screen via the videoconferencing system and show, in this way, the final result of each question with the number of votes obtained by each answer option for each question. Moreover, the administrators can make, without visual pressure, the calculations without showing it by videoconference, in order to subsequently project a summary table of the number of votes according to the type of member and the final result of each question with the number of votes obtained by each answer option for each question.

Training session on the use of the Cercles.Coop voting platform

Watch the training video which shows how to use the administrator area and answers technical and legal questions:
Last modified 7mo ago