Criminal justice modernisation will create hundreds of IT jobs

The Government's £1bn investment in modernising IT across the criminal justice network will create "significant" job...

The Government's £1bn investment in modernising IT across the criminal justice network will create "significant" job opportunities for IT professionals, Home Office minister Michael Wills has told Computer Weekly.

Wills said, "Clearly, an investment of this scale will require a significant number of skilled IT, programme and change management professionals, who we will be recruiting in the next few months."

Although Wills was unable to provide an exact figure for the number of vacancies that will be created, experts estimate the project could potentially create hundreds of new IT jobs.

Martin Sexton, of systems integration and implementation specialist London Market Systems said, "There are possibly hundreds of jobs up for grabs, although the fact that the major IT services firms have so many staff on the bench, unassigned means that they are likely to gain the lion's share of the work."

He expects that IT vacancies will be created across the board, from systems and business analysts to programmers and project managers.

Sexton also predicted that the initiative will save the Government money in the future. "By harnessing new technologies and Internet standards, we should see substantial savings in the running of government services," he said.

In last month's spending review it was announced that the Government will invest nearly £1bn over the next three years to create an integrated case management system across the criminal justice network.

Wills said, "[The investment] demonstrates our commitment to developing a joined-up case management capability which will contribute to a more efficient and effective system to better protect the public."

The UK's criminal justice network, which encompasses the police, the Crown Prosecution Service, criminal courts, the Prison Service and the Probation Service, has often attracted criticism for its lack of joined-up IT.

A recent report by the Audit Commission said inadequate IT is contributing to delays and inefficiencies across the criminal justice system. Auditors also highlighted the lack of interoperability between key criminal justice agencies.

Even Tony Blair, speaking at a conference in June, admitted that many of the UK's criminal justice IT systems are "still in the dark ages".

In an attempt to bring the network's technology infrastructure up to date, the Government's Criminal Justice White Paper, which was unveiled recently, outlined three key targets for criminal justice IT:
  • The delivery of secure e-mails across the criminal justice network by 2003

  • Criminal justice organisations to be exchanging case files electronically by 2005

  • Victims of crime should be able to track the progress of their cases online by 2005.

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