Justice sector research highlights opportunity for innovation

Study reveals common barriers and success factors to innovation across global markets.

IT-enabled business services provider, Steria, alongside one of Europe’s leadingbusiness schools, Cranfield School of Management, today publishes the results of an extensive study into the challenges, barriers and key success factors to improving justice systems across the world.

The report highlights how international justice practitioners perceive innovation and barriers to success, as well as how to challenge established ways of thinking in a traditionally risk-adverse industry. The research was based on interviews with professionals in the sector and case studies of four innovative projects. While the approaches used vary between countries and regions, the report identifies the common characteristics of successful innovation projects.

The findings show that progress is typically driven from the ‘bottom up’ rather than emanating from deliberate centralised policies. The report states that innovation can often be seen as risky and sometimes costly but that innovative approaches are essential if new public services are to achieve the goals of increasing efficiencies and delivering cost effectiveness

Key findings include:

  • Engagement of communities, victims and offenders in the development and delivery of justice innovation has significant potential to improve outcomes
  • Leadership is a key factor. Senior managers need to encourage frontline staff to innovate and engage middle managers in delivery
  • Barriers to innovation include silo structures, a reluctance to deviate from established performance targets and a general culture of risk aversion
  • Technology has a valuable role to play but on its own will not deliver significant benefits in terms of reduced crime and enhanced public protection. Effective adoption is critical
  • There are no specific frameworks for managing innovation in the justice sector and as a result it is not visibly and deliberately managed. Policy makers and managers need to proactively create formal mechanisms for stimulating and implementing ideas
  • There is a wide range of innovation taking place yet awareness is limited.  Innovators need to publicise their successes more effectively and this includes articulating the benefits. Publicising success will allow other organisations to consider adopting similar initiatives

Co-author of the research Keith Goffin, Professor of Innovation and New Product Development at Cranfield School of Management comments, “It is widely recognised that successful innovation in the justice can be difficult. However, this research has revealed that breakthrough improvements are possible by taking innovative approaches, in particular by engaging different agencies, offenders, communities and the private sector in new forms of service delivery. Innovation is critically important in ensuring that criminal justice services can meet new challenges, and protect the values and integrity of society.

Gavin Chapman, chief operating officer, Steria, added, “It is clear from the  report that innovation is about creating the right partnerships and environment for new ideas to develop. In particular, by challenging assumptions and traditional delivery models and by providing effective leadership and support from the top great strides can be made.

The study surveyed 28 senior leaders in diverse justice organisations in the Netherlands, Czech Republic and the UK, and used examples from the US, Brazil, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and the UK.

Notes to Editors:

The report was authored by the following Cranfield School of Management faculty:

Dr David Baxter, Senior Research Fellow

Dr Magnus Schoeman, Visiting Fellow

Dr Keith Goffin, Professor of Innovation and New Product Development

About Cranfield School of Management:

Cranfield School of Management is one of Europe’s leading university management  schools renowned for its strong links with industry and business. It is committed to providing practical management solutions through a range of activities including postgraduate degree programmes, management development, research and consultancy.