CPS prosecutor app.
Improving the experience for CPS prosecutors in Magistrates' courts
What is the Crown Prosecution Service?
The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) is the principal public prosecuting agency for conducting criminal prosecutions in England and Wales. As part of the ongoing Government Digital Strategy, agencies are looking for ways of improving efficiency and the experience of staff and citizens through the development of new or enhanced digital products and services.
Up to 2 million cases go through the Magistrates' Courts per year.
These are dealt with by prosecutors who often handle up to 25 cases per day - a workload that could benefit from the advantages that digital can bring.
The existing process of recording outcomes
Prosecutors use a Word document template to record the outcome of a hearing and email it to the CPS admin team.
The admin team must re-key in the information received into a database.
Sent hearing records are often missing information and the admin team return them for completion.
With up to 25 cases per prosecutor per day, workloads are unmanagable for all
In a bid to transform the hearing outcome process and to improve the experience of prosecutors, the CPS sought a solution that would leverage the benefits of current technologies, be designed around the needs of core users, and ultimately increase efficiencies across the business process.
This research was further supported through a series of depth interviews and workshops with prosecutors, as well as observational research with the CPS admin staff. The findings enabled us to map out a comprehensive, end-to-end overview of the prosecutor experience and business needs.
The project team was commissioned by the CPS to conduct a Discovery phase to assess and capture the 'in-court' prosecutor experience and to envisage how a digital solution could support and better enable prosecutors in the court environment.
During Discovery, we conducted ethnographic research sessions to shadow and observe prosecutors operating within real-world court situations.
Working in partnership
Working in partnership with system integrator, CGI, we collaborated directly with prosecutors to iteratively co-design and develop a solution that would address both the user and business needs. The project team was integrated at all stages and key to this was effective communication and project management.
In the Alpha phase we took the findings and recommendations established in Discovery and began to develop a solution that would address the user and business needs we had defined. Continual testing and validation of ideas with prosecutors enabled the team to rapidly, and confidently, iterate from paper towards a fully functional digital prototype.
The project team ensured that prototypes were tested thoroughly and to do this we conducted mock court sessions and ran through scenario-based testing with prosecutors. Everything was recorded and later analysed by the team to find areas for improvement.
After a successful pilot, the CPS Prosecutor Application was rolled out across the UK's magistrates courts and is now used by over 2,000 prosecutors on a daily basis.