Civil and Criminal Justice
The overall strategy for improvement in service delivery in the Justice arena is the Making Justice Work programme . It includes a number of relevant projects and workstreams. One of the 5 key projects is specifically IT focused, around co-ordinating IT and management information. The main focus to date has been getting Criminal Justice Organisations ( CJOs - principally the police, Courts, Crown Office, and Procurators Fiscals Service) to work together and share information electronically so that they work more efficiently together and cut out waste. The primary delivery agent of this has been the Integration of Scottish Criminal Justice Information Systems ( ISCJIS) loop, which encompasses police, courts, Legal Aid, prosecution, children's reporter and criminal history. This has now been subsumed into the IT project of Making Justice Work mentioned above, which will develop a strategic overview of the opportunities for joint working on IT. Future work will bring in local authority social work and prisons. There will be a read across here to Getting It Right For Every Child ( GIRFEC) and eHealth, in tackling social problems.
The purpose of ISCJIS is to provide a secure criminal justice ICT infrastructure; where information can be shared securely and safely. Since the inception of ISCJIS in June 1996, the "primary loop" has been developed allowing for the majority of criminal cases in Scotland to be securely transferred electronically between member organisations These exchanges provide many benefits, including accuracy, speed and efficiency; when a news report says that 'a report has been submitted to the Procurator Fiscal' that report goes electronically, and even the large UK departments ( TV Licensing, HMRC, DWP etc) seeking prosecutions in Scotland have to use electronic reporting. The next phase will be to enable and encourage information sharing and exchange between members on the ISCJIS loop. One example project at the moment matches accused being held in Scottish Prison Service custody with those wanted at court, to ensure that court churn is reduced and fewer warrants are issued. This project, due to go live later this year, is costing around £200,000 and is planned to save £3.5m annually.
All applications for Legal Aid are now made on-line to the Scottish Legal Aid Board ( SLAB) and SLAB is leading a Making Justice Work project to increase the use of video conferencing technology to support legal processes such as access to a solicitor before being interviewed by the police, to allow defendants to appear from custody remotely, and ultimately to look at virtual court rooms.
Renewing Scotland's Public Services highlights the value of Digital Public Services in supporting reform in the coming years.
The McClelland Review of ICT Infrastructure in the Public Sector in Scotland highlights, the public sector, at all levels, needs to transform how it manages and uses ICT to drive a paradigm shift in digital public service delivery. We need to ensure that services are tailored to meet the needs of individuals and communities. Exploiting the full potential of ICT will be critical in achieving this transformation.
A mapping exercise is underway to identify across portfolios the digital public services activity already underway. This will inform the strategy development going forward.
In 2012, the Scottish Government will:
- work with partners to take forward our strategy for digital public services, as set out in Scotland's Digital Future, so that an increasing proportion of services are delivered online.
- Consider a range of delivery mechanisms (e.g. online, smartcard) that may be used for digital service delivery, taking into account the needs of citizens and launch the DirectScot portal prototype and seek feedback from the public to shape its further development.
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