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A digital strategy’s not just for Christmas…

Posted by: , Posted on: - Categories: Agile, Digital skills

Just before Christmas, we published our Digital Strategy. This sets out how we’re going to rethink our business digitally, redesigning our services around the needs of our users - whether that's providing victims with more information about their case, allowing individuals to file claims more easily, or providing tools to help rehabilitate offenders. 

This will be a profound change for the organisation, especially in making sure that services are delivered online – and only online – wherever possible. 

This video gives a quick overview:

The strategy outlines our programme of digital transformation starting with four ‘exemplars’ which will be redesigned and delivered online by March 2015:

  • booking prison visits
  • making civil claims (money and possession claims)
  • paying tribunal fees
  • applying for lasting powers of attorney

We explain how we’ll develop digital skills and ways of working in the department, and improve the way we talk to our users.

We know that not everyone is online, so we also say how we’ll be helping those people to use our services.

Our strategy covers the same themes as the Government Digital Strategy, and it explains how we’ll deliver the 14 actions set down there, which include

  • developing digital capability in-house
  • redesigning services handling over 100,000 transactions per year
  • raising awareness of digital services

Our strategy also looks similar, because we used the same platform to publish it. All other departments published their digital strategies at the same time and they’re definitely worth a read.

As we start the New Year, this strategy will be our guide to digital transformation in the Ministry of Justice. One of our priorities is to build up our digital division and hire the right people to help us implement the ambitious vision in the strategy.

We’ll be reporting on our progress against the strategy regularly on this blog, and we’d love to know what you think.

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  1. Comment by anewton posted on

    @PaulbernalUK tweets: 'I've had a quick look, and watched the video, and like it overall. I do have two specific comments at first glance: Firstly, I'd like to know more about dealing with digital divides: specifically, how to deal with the fact that those most vulnerable and needy are also most likely not to have online access. How are they going to be helped practically? Secondly, I didn't hear or read anything about privacy - I think people need to know (but I would, as a privacy wonk!)'

    Thanks for your comment Paul. The question of people who aren't online is really important, and one that we'll answer for each service on a case by case basis, using data on the demographics of its users. The most detailed answers so far can be found in the Cross-Gov approach to assisted digital. In the summary it says, "People who need this support will be able to access a service face to face, by phone, or in another appropriate non-digital way, with someone either inputting their data into the digital system on their behalf, or helping them put their data into the digital service themselves". From a specifically MoJ perspective, we'll be developing assisted digital services, with partners, for the Lasting Power of Attorney transaction throughout 2013.

    Privacy is also very important to us. A big part of the answer is that, when it goes live, we'll start using the Identity Assurance Platform being developed by the GDS.

  2. Comment by PhilT posted on

    A single delivery date 2+ years hence is a bit weak. We can pay fines online now so tribunal fees shouldn't need much more than 6 months ? The end of 2013 should be enough time to have at least 6 prisons running online visit booking. Etc.

    • Replies to PhilT>

      Comment by anewton posted on

      Hi Phil, I think I should have been clearer on the date point in this post - that March 2015 deadline was the one set for the big 7 transactional departments by the cross government digital strategy. However, as we say in our strategy when we discuss the exemplars in more detail, digital applications for Lasting Power of Attorney will be live from April 2013, and Employment Tribunal Fees will be introduced in July 2013. Since this is a strategy we haven't gone in to a full detailed delivery plan, but you certainly will see a lot more delivery before 2015, including the eligibility tool for Civil Legal Aid, which we'll be blogging about later today.

  3. Comment by Antony posted on

    Hello Alice,

    Very clearly set out, but the big elephant in the room (as I mentioned at is this:

    "To what extent do ministers want to be informed by feedback on policy?" Ultimately that's for the politicians to decide. Across Whitehall however, it will be interesting to see what sorts of feedback (if any) gain traction with ministers to persuade them to amend, improve, refine or even change policy altogether as a result of feedback via social media.

    We live in interesting times.

    • Replies to Antony>

      Comment by anewton posted on

      Hi Anthony, thanks for your comment. As you know, a commitment to getting wider input to policy, including through social media, has been made strongly in the Civil Service Reform Plan. I think initiatives like the DemSoc / Cabinet Office blog on open policymaking are a good start towards talking honestly about how it’s going in practice. We need to see more of this, and we're at the start of the journey towards open policymaking.


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