Data led transformation to Northern Ireland’s Criminal Justice System

Written by Tony Burrows on 07/12/2023

The Causeway Programme has replaced manual processes with an electronic platform. This has streamlined information sharing, leading to £68m in efficiencies, a 77% return on investment and faster sentencing.

Digital Transformation

Data led transformation to Northern Ireland’s Criminal Justice System

In the dynamic landscape of modern criminal justice systems, the efficient flow of information among various agencies is crucial. Recognising the limitations of paper-based processes in Northern Ireland, the Causeway Programme emerged as a ground-breaking initiative to revolutionise the region's criminal justice system. This joint effort by six key organisations — the Public Prosecution Service, Forensic Science Northern Ireland, Police Service, Courts and Tribunals Service, Probation Board, and Prison Service — aimed to address delays, information gaps, duplication of effort and excessive manpower effort and costs.

Northern Ireland's Justice Systems’ reliance on manual information sharing created inefficiencies, leading to delays, duplication of effort, increases in manpower effort resulting in drastically increased costs. Recognising these challenges, the Causeway Programme set out to establish an electronic information-sharing system, creating a seamless flow of data among the different stakeholders involved in the criminal justice system.

Fujitsu played a pivotal role in the initiative by designing a central messaging and enterprise service hub, a master data repository and rule-based case management platform that enabled a data sharing platform for the key Justice organisations. Appropriate safeguards & guard rails ensured information is only shared with authorised teams/users. Fujitsu's collaboration with the six organisations involved in the Causeway Programme was characterised by effective communication and teamwork. The partnership ensured a smooth implementation, with a focus on risk management and quick resolution of challenges. The system's responsiveness in handling issues was crucial, given the project's complexity and its significance for Northern Ireland's criminal justice system.

By collaborating closely with the staff in each of the 6 key justice organisations the Causeway platform was designed to integrate in the existing IT systems which meant that data can be securely shared but more importantly changes and updates are updated real-time ensuring all data is always consistent and accurate. The Causeway system has accelerated criminal justice processes, leading to quicker resolution of cases, more timely testimonies from witnesses, reduced time for defendants on bail or remand, and faster completion of pre-trial reports for prisoners. Additionally, there was an improvement in the completeness of information presented in courts, reducing adjournments and ensuring more accessible criminal records.

Key Benefits realised include:

  • EFFICIENCIES – a benefit of £68m and Return on Investment of 77%, releasing resources and investment
  • FASTER SENTENCING – witnesses, victims and defendants can complete the trial process more quickly
  • MORE ACCURATE RECORDS – records can be kept up-to-date, improving their relevance
  • TIMELY INFORMATION – having a wider overall picture of work and costs enables NIW to drive efficiencies and improve services
  • ONE AND DONE – data is exchanged electronically without the need for the data to be re-keyed multiple times increasing productivity as staff are freed up from data entry and manual information sharing
  • END TO END – Providing the foundation to quickly deliver future developments In the Criminal Justice System

So, in conclusion, the Causeway Programme stands as a leading-edge project, transforming Northern Ireland's criminal justice system by promoting information-sharing, streamlining processes, and fostering collaboration among key agencies. The success of the initiative, coupled with the continuous commitment of all stakeholders, signifies a significant leap towards a more efficient and responsive criminal justice framework in Northern Ireland.

Tony Burrows

Written by

Tony Burrows

Justice Business Development Lead, Fujitsu Services UK Ltd

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