Tina Wakefield says major programmes are being implemented around business intelligence analytics at the Ministry of Justice.
“Better business Intelligence (data and information) is one of the pillars of our modernisation portfolio of work,” says Wakefield, who is both CIO and deputy secretary ICT at the ministry.
She says one of the initiatives recently run by the ministry’s Business Intelligence team was designing a proof of concept of Content Analytics for the National Transcription Service through text and voice analytics.
“To improve the way Justice services are made available, we need to understand the data that informs both current business processes and the business process reengineering need, to change how the justice services and court services are designed and delivered,” says Wakefield.
The use of voice analytics is an innovative approach to analysing the ministry’s unstructured information that will provide us with valuable insights to drive operational and managerial decision making, she says.
Voice analytics can help in determining the factors that drive quality and accuracy of automated transcription and answer business questions such as reasons for adjournments in court cases.
“As well as using this type of analytics for the first time, we have taken an innovative exploratory approach with vendors, enabling us to engage early and agilely while working within ministry parameters and engaging with the Office of the Privacy Commissioner to provide safe, secure and private analysis of this data.
“With this approach, we can test the capability of the technology and our partners to provide this analysis as a service,” says Wakefield.
“If successful, the proof of concept gives the ministry a secure way of analysing other information to drive through improvements and efficiencies in the way we administer Justice services.”
Front door to government
Wakefield says the contact centre has also undergone a technology transformation.
“Apart from the court building itself, our contact centre is the front door that the public uses to access our services, and supports several mission-critical business services,” she says.
Thus, she names Project K?rero, which was set up to implement the modernisation of the contact centre technology, as one of the major business technology initiatives her team delivered over the past year.
The technology used in the previous system had reached its operational, technical, support and economic life cycle, she explains.
“The implementation included an upgrade to the technology of the Collections workflow distribution technology and broadband connectivity for Collections Registry Officers working from home,” she says.
The project has delivered robust, future-proofed technology and a reliable platform to support the delivery of more than one million calls and more than three million tasks per year, following the upgrade which finished in October 2017.
The upgrade ensured a solution that provides capability and capacity options to meet future demand.
“More than 400 people across the ministry are now using the new platform including the Contact Centre, Home Agents, our Central Processing Unit, the Coronial Services National Initial Investigation Office, court bailiffs, and workflow specialists in National Service Delivery Operations Support,” says Wakefield.
The ministry has numerous systems that require upgrading or the adding of new functionality in order to help the end user.
Our ‘Minor works’ initiative was created with the aim of working collaboratively across the ministry to deliver small tactical changes to existing information technology systems to help resolve business problems, says Wakefield. Many of the ideas come directly from front line court staff and are then prioritized by the business for implementation.
The Minor works programme uses an agile methodology to respond to a rapidly changing environment, enabling software releases to happen every fortnight. The approach of planning, scheduling and controlling the releases to enable the changes means ICT can respond to business needs a lot faster.
The Ministry of Justice is the landlord and lead agency for the newly opened Christchurch Justice and Emergency Service Precinct.
Wakefield says the precinct was developed in response to the earthquake damage in 2011. The co-location of the Civil Defence and Emergency services in the same building means that the agencies can share common technology services and work in an innovative and integrative way. Precinct-wide the main innovation is shared Telecommunication as a Service (TaaS) networking, with all agencies except Police using it. This way of working allows agencies to easily connect with one another and with customers making it easier to deliver secure cross-agency services, says Wakefield.
The ministry implemented new future proof infrastructure to support and enable the new mobile way of working, as an example wifi, and replaced old desktops and laptops with mobility devices and collaboration tools including tablets.
“This allows staff and the Judiciary to easily work away from their desks, taking their tablet with them to work wirelessly elsewhere, the ability to present from the tablet to screen, printing at any printer from the tablet and able to use the tablet for phone calls.”
Using audiovisual technology, we have enhanced and innovated the way hearings are conducted, she says.
At the Christchurch precinct, the ministry installed four custodial suites with video conferencing capability where people who have either been arrested or detained can (subject to Judicial direction) be heard by the court through videoconference.
Wakefield says there is a range of opportunities to share how her team is supporting the wider ministry with the change programme increasing 300% year on year.
Wakefield regularly takes part in leadership initiatives at the ministry, and speaks at forums on how her team can further the ministry’s goal of modernising the Justice services.
“My role on the Governance Group for the Government Women’s Network and as the Executive Sponsor of the ministry’s Women’s Network provides opportunities for me to promote diversity and encourage women to strive to be successful in whatever they chose to do. I am also the Executive Sponsor of the ministry’s Young Professionals Group.”
She underscores the ‘power of storytelling’ in working with these different groups within the ministry and the other public sector agencies.
“Storytelling is a powerful art to inspire and move culture and to communicate to our customers,” she says, and its impact is now reflected across the ministry.
“How can we as CIOs inspire and lead to change culture without engaging the heart as well as the mind? How can we hope to partner with our business colleagues unless we speak in their language? The culture in ICT at the ministry has moved from insular, confrontational and siloed to collaborative, proactive and customer-engaging,” she says.
“Making this transition required sustained communicating and inspiring through communicating the stories of what is possible, telling the story of our vision and telling stories around the impact that ICT makes on the daily lives of those that enter the court system.”