I'm one of the first of a new type of job inside each department. My role is to shape and guide the projects so that they fully live up to their digital by default billing.
My first two weeks have been filled with lots of research on how the prison visits system operates, plus plenty of meetings to understand the existing systems and policy.
I've learnt about the Prison NOMIS (National Offender Management Information System), which holds information on prisoners; read the Prison Service Instructions on how to run a prison; and read the Prison Rules which give the underlying framework for the prison system.
Booking a prison visit generates millions of phone calls a year, and much of the system is pen- and paper-based, with a wide range of implementations across the 133 prisons in the UK.
Ensuring the right person gets to visit the right prisoner and has a good experience is at the core of the service, but security issues can make this a much more difficult process.
Security is high on the agenda, rightly so, but there are opportunities to assess and improve how the workflow operates from existing consolidated call centres for visit booking and on towards the goal of transforming the service to a digitally-driven one.
My next tasks are to start the discovery process in conjunction with GDS and NOMS (National Offender Management Service) and begin some analysis of the data that exists around the value in the visiting process and how that relates to reoffending. Exploring the existing workflow and the potential for a data-driven analysis is quite exciting.
Visiting a prison is the main activity next week, and I'm really looking forward to it.