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Courts Service lays out data plans


Mark Say Managing Editor

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HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has laid out plans for four key initiatives to improve its use of data over the next two years.

They are included within its Data Strategy, published earlier this month, which is based around five pillars and involves a programmatic approach.

It says the four projects are aimed at improving HMCT’s ability to run an efficient system and provide access to justice.

One is to publish a catalogue of open and shared data resources by the end of 2021-22. This is aimed at helping academics, researchers and other external stakeholders to more easily navigate and understand the available data.

The same deadline applies to the Master and Reference Data project, which addresses the issue of court buildings with different names or the same name used differently. The document says a common approach will provide more effective on hearings.

There is also a plan for an HMCTS Strategic Data Platform to be in place by spring 2023. This is aimed at reducing the reliance on manual processes and involve moving the production of management information to a new cloud based data warehouse. It will automatically produce dashboards.

Finally, the service has a data quality strategy to move from fixing issues individually to a system-wide improvement of data quality.

Unlock opportunities

HMCTS says these projects should unlock opportunities to improve efficiency and user contacts, ensure reasonable adjustments for individuals in the justice process, support its estates strategy, provide timely evaluation of reform projects and help the Ministry of Justice make informed policy changes.

The five pillars are to: gather, hold, curate and protect data in a way that makes accessible and comprehensible; manage analysis and modelling effectively; provide the right analytical skills and culture; use data to deliver high quality services and obtain better evidence of which approaches increase value; and share data to support transparency and allow others to innovate and deliver better services.

In an accompanying blogpost, HMCTS deputy director, head of insights and analytics Amy Caldwell-Nichols, said: “While HMCTS is data rich, we don’t currently make the most of our raw data and we have work to do before we can.

“And now is the time to do it. Data is key to our efforts to recover from the pandemic and, in the longer term, will enable the evaluation of our multi-year Reform programme. So, our strategy comes at an important time for HMCTS as the programme enters its last 18 months.”

Image from iStock, pp76

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