The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is aiming to secure, de-risk and make visible the health of its top 45 business critical systems as a key element of its new digital strategy.
It has included the move as one of its priorities for the next three years, with the aim of reducing the level of technical debt, developing more reliable and resilient services and giving itself more flexibility to respond to change.
The newly published MoJ Digital Strategy 2025 does not identify the systems but says this will involve developing a better understanding of the ministry’s legacy technology and investing in new software with modern contracts.
Another important feature is to build up the in-house digital capability with strong multi-disciplinary product and service teams, opportunities to retrain and upskill and a continuous improvement in the tools used, processes and ways of working.
The MoJ’s chief digital and information officer Gina Gill said in a blogpost that work on the review was prompted by the ministry’s digital team feeling it lacked a clear purpose or set of priorities, and the point was not to halt work in progress or change agencies’ strategies with a digital element, but to be open about what work is being done.
“Our vision is to make the experience of all of our users simpler, faster, and better,” she said.
“We will do this by reducing technical debt and automating where we can to help the MoJ to be more flexible and responsive to change; making sure the right data is available at the right time and for the right people to improve decision making, and working with operational and policy colleagues to make sure that users are at the heart of all the services we provide.
“All of this will be underpinned by strong digital capability across the MoJ.”
Much of the strategy reflects existing initiatives, such as ambitions to provide better digital tools for probation services and replace legacy systems in prisons with new digital services, accompanied by an emphasis on rehabilitation.
Others are to: create simplified and reliable access to legal aid services; provide new digital channels to register and use lasting power of attorney; provide straightforward and sensitive access to compensation; invest in technology to modernise courts and tribunals; deliver sustainable core technology services; and build proportionate functional standards.
While the document does not include many detailed commitments on invesments, it outlines three underlying themes which the MoJ is aiming to embed in all its decision making and choices on resources. These are to make itself more flexible by reducing the reliance on legacy systems; to be driven by data with all new services to have APIs as standard; and to be led by users in building services.