New deal raises hopes for integrated justice IT

A new networking deal between Energis and Logica will help the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) meet the deadline for its new...

A new networking deal between Energis and Logica will help the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) meet the deadline for its new Compass case management system, the Government said this week.

Bryan Lee, Compass programme manager at the CPS, said, "We look forward to Energis providing a valuable contribution to the IS infrastructure being managed by Logica as part of the Compass PFI [private finance initiative] contract.

"This infrastructure will be a key element when we roll out the initial case management system in 2003."

Telecoms provider Energis announced earlier this week that it had won a five-year contract with systems integrator Logica to underpin the new case management system for the CPS.

The Compass case management system being developed by Logica is at the heart of the Government's plans to overhaul the technology within the UK's criminal justice network. It will enable CPS staff to access and share important legal documents electronically.

Energis will provide a networking solution to link the CPS' main sites via a single secure network. The Internet Protocol-based virtual private network will use multi-protocol label switching, which allows network traffic to be prioritised so that business-critical applications can be given priority over less urgent data traffic.

Criminal justice IT is currently a top priority for the Government. In the recent spending review it announced plans to invest nearly £1bn over the next three years to create an integrated case management system that can be used by the police, courts, the Prison Service, the Probation Service and the CPS.

Critics have often pointed to a lack of integrated IT across the UK's criminal justice agencies as a cause of inefficiencies in the criminal justice system.

A report by the Audit Commission earlier this year said inadequate IT is contributing to delays and inefficiencies across the system. 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".

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