CGI is helping deliver the government’s social policy agenda, working as a partner to government to update core public safety, health and IT systems.
As well as working to deliver policy, we are helping to drive the social agenda, informing and supporting research on how society can harness the power of technology to make life better for citizens.
A key challenge for the social agenda are the disconnected processes and outdated technologies that can still be found across the public sector. In my previous role in CGI’s health business, I saw how these made it difficult for healthcare professionals to collaborate. Frustrating for the dedicated staff who wanted to focus on their patients, this also meant individual patients not always receive the level of care they expected.
Now, that I lead CGI’s Central Government team, we encounter similar disconnects in areas of Government, notably the justice system, that can generate cost, damage performance and mean poor experiences for both civil servants and the citizen. Our mission is to join the dots between people and processes, and enable smoother collaboration across Government.
Understanding the impact of “joined up”
In recent years CGI has partnered with independent experts to develop a series of studies that explore how joining the dots can transform processes and deliver benefit for society.
In 2017, in partnership with the Police Foundation, we published Reforming Justice for the Digital Age which explored how agencies across the UK justice system use digital technology to work together more effectively. The absence of “joined-up justice” imposes significant costs on society: in one year, almost £120 million pounds was being wasted on trials that never took place because of failures of communication. Besides the financial bill, there was a hefty human cost with delayed or cancelled investigations and trials causing trauma for the victims of crime.
In 2018 we partnered with Crest Advisory to research and publish Joining the dots: Domestic abuse, civil and criminal justice and technology. We looked at how the justice system deals with victims of domestic abuse, specifically via Non-Molestation Orders (NMOs). Again, we found disconnects between key parts of the system which made the experience of obtaining and using an NMO more stressful for people who have suffered abuse. Here, the absence of “joined-up justice” means victims who have been granted an NMO have to carry a physical copy of order to make use of it – a traumatic reminder of what they’ve been through. As a result of developing the study, CGI is now actively supporting legislation to record NMOs on the Police National Database, and so allow officers to enforce orders without requiring the victim to present paperwork.
A joined-up social agenda
Our studies with the Police Foundation and Crest Advisory have allowed us to think big about the power of a joined-up approach in tackling social challenges. Above all, they underline how important it is to keep our eyes and our minds open, and focus on outcomes.
One example that fascinates me is the joined-up approach that Glasgow is taking to knife crime. The Scottish Violence Reduction Unit (VRU) has pioneered a multi-agency response which treats violence as public health. The fact that Glasgow is responding to crime with treatment rather than punishment may be controversial. But the results, including a 60% drop in the murder rate since the VRU’s launch, speak for themselves and other cities, including London, are following with similar initiatives.
The Glasgow results again show what can be achieved when we deal with the disconnects within and between different state agencies. As we explore in Reforming Justice and Joining the Dots, technology has incredible potential to join up processes and deliver better outcomes for citizens. I encourage you to read the reports – and let us know what you think.
In my next blog I will explore how CGI are helping Government departments to incrementally modernise, supporting Government strategy and to meet the increasing demand of citizens.