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A Vision for Digital Justice

The CDIO of the Ministry of Justice has set out his vision for Digital Justice: a seamless, digitally enabled, end-to-end system.

In a blog posted a couple of weeks ago on LinkedIn, the Chief Digital & Information Officer of the Ministry of Justice, Arif Harbott, set out his vision for Digital Justice and imagined how the criminal justice system (CJS) might look.

In the post, Digital Justice – Transforming the end to end criminal justice system, he outlines the aims of the Digital Justice project: a digitally enabled end-to-end justice system to reduce manual processes and inefficiencies; a joined-up user experience that guides the citizen from start to finish; data that can be shared and accessed across the CJS, as a foundation to deliver justice more efficiently.

He points out that it is important to realise that the people who interact with the CJS don’t think about it in the same terms as those in Government. People don’t view the system as siloed organisations, they tend not to think about dealing with a police force, the Crown Prosecution Service and HMCTS and the National Offender Management Service. Instead they think in terms of getting arrested, going to court and then going to prison. And so the Digital Justice team undertook an enormous mapping exercise in order to understand how the CJS is experienced by its ‘users’. “What they found was a complex proliferation of silos and systems. This shouldn’t be surprising as the justice system has never actually been designed. It’s grown organically layer by layer over many years.”

The map that they developed allowed the team to spot “overlaps, gaps or opportunities across organisational boundaries. It also helps us spot common patterns and then build platforms to solve common problems. The benefit of this is that we build things once and then deploy them many times across the system.”

The team used the insights gained from the map to focus their recommendations for digital transformation on two areas: Triage and Data. ‘Triage’ is all about ensuring the citizens are directed to the right place first time when they engage with the CJS. This will reduce frustration with the system and make sure that “unnecessary demand does not reach the justice system in order to minimise Police and Court time.”

‘Data’ is all about making sure people within the system can access the right data when they need to. If done well, Arif says that “data access could be the single most transformative change in the justice system.”

You can find detailed ideas and recommendations in Arif's orginal blog post.


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