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Digital transformation initiatives in Australia’s law and justice sector

In the first quarter of 2020, the Department of Justice Western Australia awarded a tender to MFS to roll out their new Workforce Management System over a 12-month period. This new workforce management platform, powered by a proprietary cloud-based system, allows for replacing rostering and time and attendance processes to be replaced with a single, seamless solution.

The advanced scheduling programme will be rolled out to over 3000 employees at correctional centres and support locations throughout the state. The new suite will help the Department manage Prison Officers, Youth Custodial Officers and Nurses as well as have the ability to expand it to other employee groups on demand.

Matthew Negus from the Department of Justice Western Australia said the aim was to “reduce the department’s reliance on manual forms, provide staff with a system to set their availability for extra shifts, view rostered shifts, request swaps, and book leave whilst providing management clarity and ensuring our people are paid accurately and on time”.

To achieve this, the department explored contemporary, market-leading workforce management solutions that would facilitate compliance with multiple complex industrial awards, agreements and departmental policies. The package had to cater to the special needs of their 17 unique facilities and also be scalable to adapt to future changes.

The legal system has been also working in other areas to adopt tech-enabled initiatives to bring about efficiencies and safety.

Electronic filing in the civil jurisdiction of the Magistrates Court has been made available and includes filing documents on matters commenced prior to this March. There are some exclusions to this initiative that include Restraining Order applications, Extraordinary Driver’s Licence applications and Protection and Care matters.

The Court’s ECMS is the electronic case management system for managing proceedings in all Western Australian courts and tribunals and is available through the eLodgment system on the eCourts Portal for use by the legal profession, government agencies and self-represented litigants.

Proceedings in the Court’s civil jurisdiction are commenced by filing originating documents. Once commenced other documents can also be filed using the ECMS. Filing fees are paid online and all court orders and listings can be accessed electronically by parties to the proceedings.

Benefits of eLodgment include the ability to lodge civil procedure applications and forms electronically; access court documents and court orders 24/7; view online all civil procedure matters that individuals or clients are linked to and receive court documents and court orders electronically.

In other developments, the Victorian Government has joined the Commonwealth Government’s National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution. The National Driver Licence Facial Recognition Solution (NDLFRS) will protect Victorians from identity theft, prevent crime and improve road safety and ID verification. The Victorian data uploaded to the NDLFRS technology will be available to approved Victorian Government agencies for use.

Under an Intergovernmental Agreement, the states and territories agreed in October 2017 to participate in the Commonwealth Government’s NDLFRS to share and match identity information – although none have yet signed onto the scheme in full.

The NDLFRS is hosted on a Department of Home Affairs platform. It is part of the Commonwealth Government’s national Identity Matching Services. The Identity Matching Services helps prevent identity crime, one of the most common crimes in Australia. The Identity Matching Services help organisations to verify identity in a way that is secure, fast and private.

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