Offender e-tracking system gets wider roll-out in courts

An online system for tracking cases through different parts of the justice system will get a wider roll-out, following a successful pilot in Liverpool.

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An online system for tracking cases through different parts of the justice system will get a wider roll-out, following a successful pilot in Liverpool.

The Tracker system from provider EzGov Europe will be rolled out to 12 more courts in England and Wales following the pilot scheme North Liverpool Community Justice Centre, part of the government’s community justice programme.

The system allows justice agencies to track and manage defendants’ cases. EzGov developed the system to enable agencies involved in Community Justice – judges, police, courts, probation, drug rehabilitation centres – to store and share information about offenders.

The information held is linked to each defendent to enable all parties to access relevant data directly when assessing the appropriate course of action in a case. A file is built up over time and can include judges' personal notes. All information is immediately accessible by the judge when passing sentence.

The latest version of Tracker introduces a new reporting tool and is also extending the number of key reports from 10 to 42.

EzGov was selected by the former Department for Constitutional Affairs - now part of the Ministry of Justice. DCA programme manager, David Chambers said the system allowed people working across teh justice system to work better together and also reduced administration time.

“The system is working well in Liverpool and we are looking forward to rolling out the system to more courts continuing to grow the functionality so that other community justice projects can enjoy the same benefits.”

The government is under pressure to join up police and justice systems, both in order to streamline administration and to ensure that criminals do not fall through the net. Last month, procurement finally began for a £600m national police database.

But this is not expected to be up and running until 2010, six years after the Bichard Report into the murder of two schoolchildren in Soham said: “A national IT system for England and Wales to support police intelligence should be introduced as a matter of urgency.”

The wider future of IT systems in the courts is unclear after roll-out of the long-delayed and troubled Libra project to provide a new case management system and infrastructure for magistrates’ courts was halted at the end of February, pending a review.

Libra systems provided by Fujitsu Services had been rolled out to just 23 of the 370 magistrates courts in England and Wales.

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