Improving services for Victims and Witnesses
The Witness Management System (WMS) enables information sharing between the two agencies and enhances the support given to witnesses to enable them to give evidence at trial.
As part of the Government’s commitment to transform the experiences of victims and witnesses of crime, the No Witness No Justice (NWNJ) team developed a strategy to ensure consistent delivery of witness care services across England and Wales.
What The CPS Needed
Supporting people who are either a victim of crime or a witness to an incident is important in terms of a responsibility to the individual. Providing support is also crucial to the smooth progression of a prosecution case by avoiding delays and expense, due to witness non-attendance at court. Set in the broader context of improving public confidence in criminal justice, NWNJ was tasked with putting in place arrangements to ensure a consistent level of service. Many good examples existed, but without a supporting framework, achieving best practice at the national level was hard to demonstrate.
CGI has successfully delivered a large IT-enabled business change programme with the CPS through the COMPASS partnership, with the introduction of the Case Management System (CMS). This supports the end-to-end prosecution process, helping lawyers, caseworkers and administrative staff to manage a case from start to finish; scheduling tasks and helping to streamline many of the administrative activities.
A Success Story
WMS has enabled achievement of significant business change and delivered benefits including:
Better service for witnesses: It has become easier to meet the needs of witnesses, assessing their individual situation and ensuring they have all the support they need to turn up in court. Witness care officers may be dealing with a hundred witnesses at any one time but can treat each “With WMS we have information at our fingertips. This allows us to concentrate on helping victims and witnesses by providing them with updates on the progress of a case. If they are asked to give evidence in a trial we can determine their individual needs and help with the practicalities of attending court. Susan Smith, Witness Care Officer cgi-group.co.uk © 2013 CGI GROUP INC. one personally as WMS will present them with a log of previous contacts with the witness.
Joined-up working: WMS has enabled collaboration across teams as timely information is shared. It has given the police, witness care officers and the CPS the right information at the right time to do their jobs effectively. There has also been a large reduction in data keying as information is increasingly being entered once and reused many times. Frontline staff are relieved of administrative burdens and can focus their efforts on delivering support to victims and witnesses.
Improved management information: The reporting within WMS enables the police and CPS to have a national view of witness management across agencies, helping to promote consistent achievement of Victims’ Code and Witness Charter commitments. It also provides a sample base for the national Witness and Victim Experience Survey (WAVES), which interviews nearly 40,000 victims and witnesses every year.