17 May 2021

Collaboration for Prevention – Is a CRM Style Approach The Answer?

Guest blog: Peter Wilson, Public Sector Industry Architect at Pegasystems as part of our #DigitalJustice week

In the context of “Collaboration for Prevention” a successful National Probation Service (NPS) is clearly a critical component in addressing the phenomenon of the “Revolving Prison Door”, however the NPS is facing a huge administrative challenge as management of previously outsourced elements of rehabilitation services revert back to internal delivery. 

Already, many probation officers have over 50 ex-offender clients in their caseload, so taking on a much bigger workload as these services transition back from CRCs, may not be sustainable and service quality may be impacted. A more connected approach to client engagement and application of associated processes, supported by modern digital service technologies will be the means of accommodating this new work while preserving quality of service. 

The NPS core purpose centres around the application of a rehabilitation regime that manages clients who can either revert to crime or be helped back into society and so, at its heart there is a strong behavioural change component that to be successful, needs to rely on understanding the individual, tailoring treatment grounded in that understanding and, choreographing the range of processes, functions, assets and participating roles, within and beyond NPS, to drive that purpose.  

Described in these terms, there are striking parallels with other forms of Relationship Management seen in public and private sector customer service contexts and so, the question is; do some of the key principles of CRM have utility in Offender Management? 

In all human centric service provision, there is an advantage in maximising a workforces time on high-value intervention by exploiting Technology to deal with lower value administrative functions, augmenting the human component with automation where relevant and always providing insight to guide their next actions. This is no different for NPS where there is a distinct advantage to facilitating the ability of Probation Officers to spend more of their time in direct engagement with offenders. 

Generally, human centric service provision is increasingly underpinned by a combination of CRM and Case Management based IT capabilities. Solutions are designed to work across an organisations Functions, Processes, People and wider IT Systems, effectively consolidating data to create insight and connecting often disparate organisation components into a connected and cohesive service provision.  

Implementing connected CRM and Case Management approaches over the top of existing IT Systems is an effective way of getting important things done more efficiently, while replacing aging legacy systems in the background, in a more sustainable and risk mitigated way.  

There are many examples in traditional customer service sectors where significant efficiency is driven by CRM and Case Management and, leads to measurable and positive customer outcomes for organisations, but more specifically to the NPS context, the Australian Community Support Organisation has transformed their probation service using these approaches, to help engage with their clients more effectively and, in so doing reduced reoffending rates by 20%. 

There are many critical capabilities that the IT Analyst community will point to as important for CRM and Case software/platform products and its well worth reflecting on some of them in the context of offender management, to support the case for a similar approach, for example: - 

User Journey Management; Connecting customer and partner interactions to back-office operations and supplier ecosystems in a context-aware, situationally adaptive way. 

Knowledge management; Support, management and improvement of the delivery of contextual knowledge through self-service or assisted service. 

Real-time continuous intelligence; Support for real-time analysis of current and historical data in order to allow for smarter real-time decision making. 

1:1 Experience; Proactively personalising contextually aware interactions at scale, to support rapid transformation and/or improvement of the customer and employee journey. 

Manage Complexity and Variation; Adaptive case management provides tooling to automate operational decisions and enable humans to exercise their judgment on handling complex events and, even using them to coordinate action. 

Dynamic Process Management; Automates, orchestrates and choreographs business processes that shape themselves as they run. These processes can therefore be considered adaptive and intelligent, executing the next best action. 

Pivoting Staged Interactions; Being able to replace or adjust a course of action when the current proposition is no longer the best or applicable, based on the most recent behaviour, interaction or, information. 

In summary, the notion of using CRM and Case technologies in offender management, isn’t necessarily a new one, but its never just about the technology, its also about the culture and ethos and, in that regard, there are lessons and best practices waiting to be learned from customer service organisations regardless of how abstract that might seem. 

Georgina Henley

Georgina Henley

Head of Justice and Emergency Services, techUK

Georgina Maratheftis

Georgina Maratheftis

Associate Director, Local Public Services, techUK

Raya Tsolova

Programme Manager, National Security, techUK