CIO100 2017 #31-100: Tina Wakefield, Ministry of Justice
“ICT has developed a pathway for how we will move towards digital courts, which reflect our goal of building people-centred justice services,” says Tina Wakefield, Deputy Secretary ICT/CIO at the Ministry of Justice.
The pathway has been designed to reflect different stakeholders, and how the services will change over time to meet the needs of the New Zealand citizen, says Wakefield. “How do we improve the experience of those who use our justice system?”
The impetus for the shift include the ministry’s aging systems and infrastructure, and the opportunity to harness technology to improve the quality of service and timely access to it.
Two of the five priorities for the Ministry are Turning data into insight and Building Robust functional ICT. The Information Systems Strategic Plan is business driven and is focused on achieving the core business strategies including a digital justice system.
Turning data into insight
The ICT work in transforming the ministry’s business intelligence space has allowed the business to know and understand the data more effectively so that better operational decisions can be made.
The Ministry has an integrated Business Intelligence service led by the business, creating back-office capability in ICT to support and enable the front-office capability in the Sector group.
Our aim in ICT has been to enable the business to use data more effectively to make better strategic and operational decisions. This requires us to ensure good data governance exists, improve data quality, enable predictive analytics and create an enterprise view of information, which add a customer centric lens to how information is used.
Prior to establishing the integrated BI service, the Ministry’s reporting and analysis was a manual, time consuming process and occurred differently in different parts of the business. It involved the use of multiple data warehouses. ‘We have consolidated multiple warehouses into an enterprise warehouse and this has reduced operational support costs and complexity”
“From a business perspective the focus used to be on what happened,” she points out. “Now the business is more focused on understanding why situations occur, how they may be managed better and where investment can be best placed for better customer outcomes”
Digital transformation is likewise beginning to occur in the court context, she says.
The court system continues to be heavily reliant on paper. However with recent legislation changes we are presented with opportunities to work with the business to make significant progress along the pathway towards digital courts, she says.
Electronic casebooks have been introduced for the Court of Appeal (CoA). An electronic casebook is a digital version of documents relating to a hearing. The use of Electronic casebooks creates a more efficient working environment for the judiciary.
“We expect that the number of paperless courts will increase as we begin the roll out of our new enterprise content management system this year,” she says. “A single ECMS ( Electronic Content Management System)platform will form the basis for both the digital case file and enterprise content, she says.
Another Ministry project called the Home Agent Solution allows Collections agents to work from home.
The Collections Registry Officers who use this system can be managed and monitored like any employee onsite. The existing technology solution will be replaced when we complete the Contact Centre as a Service implementation this year, she says. When this happens, the ministry will be one of the first government agencies to implement this TaaS offering.
Fresh eye perspective
Another technology project at the Ministry of Justice involves revamping the audio-visual systems.
New Zealand's courtrooms rely on complex audio-visual systems to record what's being said, allow everyone to speak and listen comfortably, and enable remote participation in trials and hearings, she explains.
Reliance on audio-visual capabilities is growing, because it provides an increased range of choices about how people can attend court proceedings, and by doing so improves access to justice. This allows witnesses to speak and hear comfortably in a complex and stressful environment, enabling vulnerable child-witnesses to be beamed into court so that they don't have to see the defendant, allowing the attendance of international expert witnesses’, or simply reducing stress and improving safety by enabling virtual participation of prisoners in some proceedings.
Leading the way
Wakefield holds a Tier 2 role, which enables the CIO and her team to be part of the strategic leadership team and on the Board. The CIO is also a member of the Ministry’s Investment Committee and Planning and Resources Committee. This ensures ICT has a voice across our top decision making and leadership and governance committees, says Wakefield.
ICT is on the SLT agenda regularly, including a quarterly review, and has regular SLT Board slots on new initiatives across ICT's scope of technology, data and information.
“When I began as CIO, I created a Deputy CIO role (now called Chief Technology Officer). This person is able to step up when I am absent or unavailable and really runs the technology team. This enables me to operate as part of the Ministry’s leadership team, taking a much broader role than just ICT,” she says.
“We have recently introduced a new operating model and structure into ICT which centres around the Product and Services we offer our customers, rather than a business unit or lifecycle focus. We took the opportunity to rewrite all ICT job descriptions and introduced the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) into all our position descriptions.”
Wakefield is a member of the Governance Group for the Government Women's Network and is the Executive Sponsor of the Ministry's Women’s Network.
“These provide opportunities for me to promote diversity and encourage women to strive to be successful in whatever they chose to do.”
Wakefield notes how the Ministry has an all-woman ICT security team. The members have worked across government, defence and corporates in New Zealand and overseas.