Tracking Processes and Open-Government-Track-Gov.
Juvenile Court of Salerno

The Problem

According to legislation, the Juvenile Court assures its intervention when minors come into contact with the jurisdictional system.
The jurisdictional and administrative approach considers carefully demands, setting in the foreground the guardianship of minor’s interest and making its decisions comprehensible and shared.
The developed mission doesn't exclusively concern the institutional assignments, attributed to the Juvenile Court by the law. New function of the Juvenile Court, mostly considered a place of jurisdiction only, but also of reception, development and diffusion of the juvenile culture.

Most of Italian Courts suffer from internal organization (quantity of hr, training, IT equipment, etc.) and quality on service delivery. The Salerno’s Juvenile Court faced this situation trying to enhance both issue.
The contest before taking action was the following:

 double organisation’s management system (magistrates and administrative staff);
 lack of budget and human resources;
 organisation by functions;
 inadequate autonomy in management processes;
 processes excessively fragmented;
 low involvement of stakeholders.

Last, but not least, any chance had to be without change of law nor of budget.

The result of two self-assessment sessions, achieved through the implementation of the CAF (Common Assessment Framework), based on the principles of Total Quality Management and of EFQM (European Foundation of Quality Management), has been the ground for a renovation process of the Juvenile Court of Salerno started in November 2010.

The renovation target has been to enhance the efficiency of internal processes and the service quality provided to Citizen.

This process has been carried out in three different stages.

First step was related to the "internal environment" of the Court. Activities carried out by different offices have been reorganized into work processes, identifying "process owners” and partially reducing their relative timing.

Second, a Service Charter was drafted and a connected Complain Management System, the latter being useful to trigger a "virtuous circle” of continuous improvement.

In the last stage, the attention turned to the "external environment", where three different IT tools were designed to simplify and make more effective interaction between citizens and Court’s Offices.

Tracking Adoption is an IT application designed to track each adoption proceeding and enable prospective adoptive Parents to check the progress status on the web.

Pre-Iscription Online is a IT tool for the on-line pre-enrollment in civil proceedings.

Social Web is an IT application designed to share documents and info between the Court and Social Agencies.

Solution and Key Benefits

 What is the initiative about? (the solution)
First action was taken within the "internal environment" of the Court. Specifically, activities of offices have been organized into work flow processes, identifying specific "process owners" and mapping activities. This has lead also to partially reduce timing in performing office activities.
The Court identified core processes by analyzing closely services and activities, as:
Request for suitability for international adoption; Clearance of lawyers and consultants’ fees; Action filed by parent for custody and visitation of his/her minor child, Action for withdrawing parental rights and responsibilities etc.
These proceedings were monitored in conjunction with relevant stakeholders, with the aim of an improvement based on measured efficiency, effectiveness and results. The involvement of stakeholders lead to a profitable re-organisation of processes with no extra cost.

With the aim increasing confidence of citizens in Juvenile Courts, a Service Chart was issued, stating the commitment of the Court towards citizens. Beside, a complaint management system was designed to monitoring activities and triggering a «virtuous loop» for continuous improvement.

Attention was paid then to «external environment». The main aim was to ensure a simpler and more effective interaction between Citizens and Juvenile Court.

This purpose was achieved by designing three different IT tools, which enable user to perform by simpler actions complex activities.

First tool was designed specifically for the benefit of prospective adoptive Parents. As a matter of fact, adoption proceedings have relevant impacts on young people involved. The Salerno’s Juvenile Court manages around 450 adoption applications per year. Time to get the final adoption sentence is on average around 3 years. Such a long time puts adult and young people involved in high stress and emotional situation. Therefore, this stage was the first one the Court wanted to improve.

More in detail, the IT tool created enables citizens who submit application for adoption to accede to a restricted area of an ad hoc portal in order to check the proceeding status. Users are also enabled to access to some files, info on next proceeding steps and time to end the adoption process. Moreover, in order to make information more intuitive, a graphic display will be given on information (GANTT).

This process will generate a positive effects also on the Court workflow, as it spares time on providing information physically to users. This saved-time is then addressed to more value added activities.

Recovery of efficiency and result effectiveness for users will be afterwards measured for Corporate Social Responsibility. Once this tracking process is fully tested and measured, the Courts aims at gradually extend the process on tracking civil and criminal proceedings. For instance, in the criminal this allows attorney and technical consultants to know the status of their fees liquidation.

Steps forward to ease some basic processes are achieved with another IT tool, designed to perform electronically a multi-task for submitting information. Social Web is a tool that enables Social Agencies to submit documents to the Court and to access to specific Court files on adoption proceedings. With Social Web users supply proper info in terms of quantity and quality, standardizing information and speeding up decision making process.

This approach enables also the transit from the e-government to the open-government, with consequences – among other, in fast clustering operations, social accountability and possibility to focus on higher value-added activities.

Actors and Stakeholders

 Who proposed the solution, who implemented it and who were the stakeholders?
The Organisation’s leaders had the ability to involve judges and administrative staff.
They set up a Work Team of 3 members, really sensitive to organisational issues with the task of promoting and guiding the improvement path. Leaders involved the staff investing each member with the responsibility of every single project phase. They also enhanced their skills and recognised their efforts and suggestions.

The Team held two-month meetings with stakeholders, such as professional bodies, plans area (Service Agencies), Universities, the Campania Region Government, the Province of Salerno Government, the Cityhall of Salerno. In these meetings, the Work Team analysed needs and expectations, finally identifying best operations to perform and creating guidelines for adoptions.

The Team also organised monthly meetings to promote the re-organisation of processes and to create a proper environment to boost suggestions.

(a) Strategies

 Describe how and when the initiative was implemented by answering these questions
 a.      What were the strategies used to implement the initiative? In no more than 500 words, provide a summary of the main objectives and strategies of the initiative, how they were established and by whom.
Enhance communication process via:
- a new specific web site
- the issue of a Service Chart
- the setting of a Management Complain procedure
- the performing of a Corporate Social Responsibility
- Events and Seminars.

(b) Implementation

 b.      What were the key development and implementation steps and the chronology? No more than 500 words
A system for "tracking" adoption process in order to aid citizens who declare “willingness to adopt”. Applicants for "adoption Availability" and" Suitability for international adoption”, are going to access a restricted area of the portal for checking the current status of their proceedings, produced acts, how many steps it still needs and estimated closing time. Moreover, the information displayed are going to be intuitive and easy to understand using a GANTT.
- On-line pre-enrollment of civil proceedings, with access a restricted area of the portal.
- A platform for sharing information with social services, called Social Web, enabling the implementation of files and database, with access to documents and reports on which decisions are made. In this regard a passage from e-government to the open-government will be achieved and it could assure, among other things, fast clustering operations and social accountability.
• Recoverable efficiency and results generated in terms of impact on the user, which will be quantified by appropriate indicators, will provide elements useful for extending the model to other processes. In particular penalty and administrative areas, allowing, for example, to lawyers and technical consultants to know the current status of the liquidation.
The project began in late 2010.

(c) Overcoming Obstacles

 c.      What were the main obstacles encountered? How were they overcome? No more than 500 words
Initially, within the Court, some process-owners didn’t fully understand the opportunity offered from an analysis and reorganisation by processes. Some judges were worried about the independence of the judiciary. Some relevant stakeholders didn’t exactly know the Juvenile Court activity and therefore it was quite difficult to involve them. These worries came out from their absences during the meetings. They also adopted shared guidelines slowly by using delaying tactics.
The Work Team overcame these difficulties sharing their organisational goals, making comprehensible potential benefits, ensuring a wider communication of objectives and their levels of achievement.

(d) Use of Resources

 d.      What resources were used for the initiative and what were its key benefits? In no more than 500 words, specify what were the financial, technical and human resources’ costs associated with this initiative. Describe how resources were mobilized
A main limit is that most proceedings and organization levels are governed by law. Therefore changes can be made only where actions and responsabilities are not ruled by legislation. Besides, initially there was no budget and the re-organization task should have been made with no extra cost. Never the less, following the submission of a reorganization plan, in 2011 the Court was granted with European Social Fund (ESF) and has being supported by a consulting company in achieving the claimed innovations. The work is still in progress.

Sustainability and Transferability

  Is the initiative sustainable and transferable?
The Salerno’s Juvenile Court experience is a best practice, as Italian judicial offices still work today by functions rather than by process. The Court has been able to re-organised its structure without changing legislation and without any additional costs. The Court also monitors to improve processes and service delivery.
The Court experience could be transferred to small-medium size public bodies, if they involve deeply their employees, identify relevant stakeholders and consider adequately their expectations. These activities are unavoidable to deeply chance the public service delivery and to benefit from our experience.


-In 2004, the Court has been awarded by the Department of Public Administration with the prize "Hundred Projects serving the citizen".

-In 2005, the Court is the first Italian judicial office to implement the CAF (Common Assessment Framework).

-In 2008, the Court was admitted to the European Social Fund funding following the presentation of the project "Analysis and reorganization by processes".

-In 2010, the Court is selected as part of the "Italy of Innovators", to represent the Italian Public Administration to International Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

-In 2011, the Court is selected for the European Public Service Awards – EPSA 2011.

Lessons Learned

 What are the impact of your initiative and the lessons learned?
- involve stakeholders in order to foster a process of continuous improvement;
- stimulate and receive employees suggestions of improvements;
- identify core processes to design improvement actions.
The key benefits resulting from this initiative are:
- enhance transparency
- timing of decision making
- controlling and better management of work process
- improve quality of service provided
- better protection of young people
- less stress for adult entering adoption processes
- cost and human resource savings
- improving dialogue of stakeholders with the Court
- bringing Social Agency closer to the Court process.
-accountability and tracking of decision making.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Juvenile Court of Salerno
Institution Type:   Government Department  
Contact Person:   Raffaele Mea
Title:   Administrative Director  
Telephone/ Fax:   ++39.0892570943
Institution's / Project's Website:
Address:   Largo S. Tommaso d'Aquino
Postal Code:   84121
State/Province:   SALERNO
Country:   Italy

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