How could common data revolutionise crisis response and prevention in Criminal Justice?

| minute read

Across the Public Sector, digital and operational leaders are increasingly focusing on how they can better harness data at an organisational level. Their aim is to increase efficiency of services, better quantify gaps in evolving need, and by more deeply understanding complex demand, improve responses to it.


Gethin Leiba has written here on the value of a Common Data Model in enabling self-service analytics within highly secure environments. The speed and accessibility a Common Data Model offers undoubtedly gives benefit at the organisational level. But, what’s exciting when thinking about its application within public sector settings, is how this highly democratised approach to structuring and visualising data can empower individual front line staff with data, and enable common data across partner agencies.


What is your emergency? … and how common data models and accurate visualisation can help

In many public facing services – especially those we rely on every hour of every day, and every night of the year – ‘shift handover’ represents a daily challenge. To keep continuity of service, considerable amounts of information must be passed on and at pace. The handover needs to meet a high level of accuracy, at the beginning and end of every shift, 24/7/365. Any emergency services team starting a shift will have to respond to as yet unmade emergency calls from the public, as well as being briefed upon multiple other issues e.g ongoing emergencies inherited from previous shifts, and understand the resources available across the system as a whole support to best support each case on that particular day.


Public sector case management systems contain vast quantities of information but for busy front-line professionals managing multiple complex situations, it’s key that they can rapidly extract the right data and analysis in an accessible standardised format. That data and analysis needs to be easily shared with other professionals in their own agency if they are to continuously re-prioritise effort to dynamic demand.


With the Northern Ireland Prison Service, Sopra Steria has developed data visualisations supporting officers starting a shift to have rapid access to the latest available data on those in their custody in a highly accessible visual format. Such tools improve the prioritisation of response, enabling both effective management at wing level and enhancing care and safety of those in custody. This provides an accessible view of critical actionable data – common (with suitable role-based access and privacy) to those on the front line supporting specific individuals and those in the board room looking at the prison population as a whole. 


Hindsight is a wonderful thing… so let’s get it earlier

Sopra Steria's Susannah Matschke and Omon Fagbamigbe, recently wrote an article for techUK on the value of a Common Data Model in empowering smarter states – how bringing together multiple diverse data sets from across traditional silos can enhance and hasten a more joined up response to citizen need.

As a real-world example, Sopra Steria developed a highly secure new control centre for Transport for London providing a single unified view of everything happening on the capital’s road network. This facility includes up-to-the minute details of all known incidents and the actions being taken – that’s a common data set across public and private transport providers, councils, emergency services, and the private providers informing your satnav. It is used to manage and plan vast national events, and as a real-time tool enabling multiple organisations react and respond to incidents.

In Criminal Justice, while independence between the various agencies involved can be crucial to enable a safe conviction or to respect individual privacy, there are so many situations in which the ability to share appropriate data securely, in near real-time, and according to role-based access would be invaluable to public and individual protection and enhance responses to dynamic incidents.


The Institute for Government recently developed the report ‘Doing Data Justice’ arguing for a Justice system-wide data strategy. Imagine what could be done by building on such a strategy (and what could be prevented) if there were a secure Common Data Model within each Criminal Justice agency and enabling appropriate data sharing between them.   


Imagine the ability to expand the use of such a model across multi-agency partnerships with due governance and consideration, the inclusion of the health, education and safeguarding bodies with whom Justice organisations work on the most sensitive of cases, could enable data sharing in the most crucial and the most challenging of environments enhancing existing responses.





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