Parole Board: digital case management switch plans on track
Independent body aims for 90% of its members to access case information by April as part of 2017 paperless push
The Parole Board says it intends to have 90% of its members accessing case information electronically by April as it moves to support paperless hearings from October this year.
As the independent body charged with assessing the risks of releasing prisoners, the Parole Board last year launched its E-dossier project to streamline the process of presenting case dossiers during hearings via electronic means.
“Previously, all dossiers for parole cases (which average between 300-500 pages for reviews) were printed at our office in London and couriered out to Parole Board members around the country. This process was expensive, time consuming, and not environmentally friendly,” the body has said.
Having initially been trialled with 17 members, use of the new systems introduced as part of the E-dossier project have now been expanded to 176 members. This represents 85% of the Parole Board's total membership.
“At present, 102 members are conducting completely paperless parole reviews across the country (50% of our entire membership),” the body noted.
According to the Parole Board, members trialling the system are provided with a tablet device and access to a “Web Access Module” designed to give secure access to their cases and dossiers, which can be downloaded.
As a result of courier and printing cost savings, the project is expected to ensure 250 more prisoners will have hearings each year.
Moving forward, the Parole Board intends to work with court authorities to try and provide serving judges with access to case dossiers via their own digital judiciary accounts as part of wider reforms targeted for the justice system.
“We have our second cohort of new members joining our organisation in June 2017 and they will be trained to conduct paperless hearings right from the outset. Once they start to conduct parole reviews we will be a fully operational digital organisation,” said the body.