Government departments are challenged by the need to drive greater digital government initiatives enabling digital integration across their own department and the departments with which they collaborate and coordinate. The need to deliver services to citizens online and through digital platforms has never been greater. Firstly, there is centrally mandated pressure to reduce costs and drive efficiency through intelligent IT deployment. Secondly, consumer expectation from digitally-savvy citizens, demands that departments innovate and offer consumer-friendly services through mobile devices, the cloud and in real-time.
Crime and justice services in particular have much to gain from embracing digital integration. But the complexity of their ecosystems – multiple, disparate departments – and the sensitive, confidential nature of the information gathered and processed makes forward movement a slow march. Many government departments delivering crime and justice services to citizens are shackled by bureaucracy and paralysed by fear of public inquest and litigation if they get it wrong.
Autonomous departments with their own budgets, lack of cross-agency funding and no centralised leadership means that departments which collaborate and coordinate on a daily basis are divided by digital walls which seem unlikely to be broken down.
But whilst an end-to-end crime and justice system, linked by a single holistic IT system is unlikely, departments can ill afford to ignore the benefits of innovative technology. Nor should they be railroaded into short-term fixes which are not equipped to deliver long-term benefits