The Law Society hosted the Attorney General’s Office and Home Office’s Tech Summit, which provided an opportunity for leaders in the criminal justice system and from the tech sector to come together to unpack the common challenges around digital disclosure, and how to start developing solutions. The discussion then turned to how we can transform the criminal justice system.
There were 5 key takeaways which give us a useful steer on how to move this forward with our public sector / agency friends:
- The appetite for meaningful digital transformation spans the whole criminal justice system, at all levels.
We have seen a lot of ambition for transformation coming from policing, and techUK engages closely with the key leaders here. The ambition doesn’t stop there, though. Leaders from across the criminal justice system all expressed a serious intention to be part of the change and are keen to work closely with the tech sector to deliver it.
- When engaging with criminal justice actors, we (the tech sector) need to be aware that there will always be a human element to the criminal justice system, from policing, through prosecution and to probation. Technology has a role to play in the criminal justice system, as a tool. But there needs to be a clearer acceptance that technology will not replace every human aspect of the criminal justice system, but that it can and should be used to improve humans’ ability to deliver criminal justice in the UK.
- The agencies are aware that no one solution is “perfect”, nor are they looking for such a solution. What they are looking for is transparency and honesty about the limitations of what technology can and cannot do. This ties back into a message that techUK advocates – that meaningful engagement between the supplier and public sector is key to building trust and bringing the sector closer together.
- People need to be part of the transformation journey. Knowledge and understanding is crucial, particularly in regards to disclosure. People need to be able to explain how digital evidence has been managed, it is not acceptable to say that the technology has done it.
- Coordination is crucial but remains somewhat unanswered and perhaps unassigned. The complexity of the criminal justice system, and the number of actors that operate within it, means that there is a real risk that all of the good transformation work taking place in one area will be not be shared smoothly across the rest of the system. How will transformation be coordinated, shared and managed? What would we, as the tech sector expect to see? And are we going to ask for it?
This was a useful and inspiring opportunity to engage with key leaders from across the criminal justice system – one that has provided plenty of new opportunities to support our public sector friends.