Libra project – lessons learned from its bounce-back

HM Courts Service has revealed the main lessons learned from its turn-around of the £447m Libra project to supply a national standard system for magistrates’ courts.

It says that:

– New systems are business processes are shaped by the specific needs of those who work in the courts, rather than any central diktat.

– Control of the project, change management and funding has moved closer to those who understand the day to day problems of running courts.

– New business practices are based on what works best at the front-line, in the courts, and validated in live operation before rollout.

– The change management team is rolling out standard national business processes” – “not just an IT system”.

– “Staff and managers are being “very realistic and pragmatic” about implementation plans, ensuring that end-users buy into the changes, in part by making them properly funded and well managed.

– The Libra Senior Responsible Owner is an operational director and member of the HMCS Executive Committee. “This ensures the interests of the business and the end user are represented at the highest decision making level.”

– User groups agree and prioritise system requirements.

– For IT projects in general including Libra, there is a “specific HMCS change programme whose senior executives have responsibility for governance, business processes, plans, funding arrangements, the team and skills to manage and coordinate change”.

– it has put in place a regional change team to ensure local management teams can understand, plan and manage the impact of the changes in their areas. The new teams can even handle area restructuring, pay and grades.

– The Senior Responsible Owner of Libra is supported by skilled business change and business process managers.

– Managers “minimise adverse impact on day-to-day business operations” of rollouts.

– Everyone works together to “support the way the courts need to operate in the field”.

– Bids for funding were based on what was needed for the change programme.

– There’s now a “clear and consistent way of capturing costs and benefits which ensure we are not double counting”.

This blog has some useful comments on the turn-around of the Libra project.


Libra project – 16 years late and now heading for success?

HM Courts Service turns around troubled Libra system

Libra – what it is

Excellent National Audit Office report on Libra – 2003

Libra gets green light