Federal Ministry of Justice

A. Problem Analysis

 1. What was the problem before the implementation of the initiative?
The current IT application landscape of the Austrian justice system faces challenges in terms of technological trends, budgetary development and necessary modernisation, which have to be addressed pro-actively. Specifically the following topics have to be taken into consideration when planning and designing a future IT solution for workplaces in the justice system. • Current trends o Facilitating workflow-based working with tasks being shared accordingly by the different roles. o Working independent of the place and possibilities of parallel access to files. o Taking into account that the staff may use their own terminals to work with the applications of the justice system (BYOD – Bring Your Own Device). Here the requirements for mobile terminals have to be considered, in particular. o Creating analysis options for specific evaluation of existing data of the justice system in the sense of "big data", while safeguarding the personal rights of every individual. o Use of social media in everyday work, for example to obtain information required or find the right contact persons more quickly. • Budgetary development o The requirements of the existing IT landscape increase constantly; existence and use of IT and high availability of the same are becoming more and more natural, which is also a consequence of IT use in the personal environment. o Resources (staff, budget) have stagnated for years, which actually leads to a reduction in the funds available. o Further developments of existing IT systems have to be strictly assessed according to cost/benefit considerations. o Successful completion of the migration from host to server infrastructure in April 2014 and the intention to use at least part of the budgetary funds that became available as a result to modernise the IT structure of the justice system has created some financial leeway. • Necessary modernisation o The existing core applications are based on structures that are no longer up to date and require modernisation. o The current IT landscape of the justice system lacks a comprehensive and integrated document management and workflow system that supports ergonomic processing and visualising of digital files.

B. Strategic Approach

 2. What was the solution?
For defining the job-related, technical and technological vision the approach depicted in Chart No. 1 of the overall report, which includes the stages "Requirements", "Applications" and "Technologies", was chosen. This approach is intended to illustrate that requirements, applications and technologies have to be evaluated and adapted in a constantly repeating cycle. For example, requirements can change when the cycle repeats due to the fact that technical and technological possibilities allow new options for a more effective discharge of tasks. With regard to requirements at first the actual job-related needs of the users are identified and the way in which IT can provide best possible support. The next step examines what applications can be used to meet the identified requirements in the best possible way. With regard to technology it will then be examined how these applications can be implemented by means of state-of-the-art technology. In particular questions as to whether the solutions used are future-proof must be answered and "make-or-buy" decisions must be taken. Working groups (AGs) with representatives of all branches concerned have been established for all areas of the justice system for identifying the demand for modernisation and optimisation (see Chart No. 3 of the overall report). Due to its size the area of Case Management was further divided up (see Chart No. 4 of the overall report). In addition to these working groups, which were based on areas, a separate working group with a focus on the workplace of the decision-making officer was established. Chart No. 3: Areas Chart No. 4: Areas - Case Management For the different working groups the procedure shown in Chart No. 5 of the overall report was chosen for handling the relevant areas. First, the actual situation of the relevant area was analysed by means of a list of questions prepared by the core team. To the extent reasonable actual processes were identified and practice analyses were carried out. Subsequently weaknesses were identified and proposals for improvement of the current IT solution were made in cooperation with the members of the working groups. In some cases also target processes were developed. The consolidated results of each working group were reconciled and then presented to the relevant working group and the Strategic Control and Decision-making Body. In total, 11 working groups were established, which prepared reports on the results. For two areas (Financial Practices and Safekeeping) reports on the results were prepared on the basis of prior projects (for details see table on page 13 of the overall report). No. of meetings Period No. of recommendations No. of pages of the report on the results Incoming and Compilation of Files 9 04/13-09/13 45 66 Decisions and Orders 4 04/13-07/13 18 27 Workplace of the Decision-making Officer 4 04/13-07/13 19 38 Circulation of Files 3 08/13-11/13 2 24 Register-Keeping 3 09/13-12/13 17 30 Prison Administration 6 10/13-04/14 32 47 Statistics 2 11/13-01/14 9 29 Contact with the Public 3 12/13-03/14 24 36 Dispatch 3 01/14-03/14 12 22 Land Register 1 02/14-04/14 included ** Business Register 1 02/14-04/14 included ** Financial Practices 5 * 02/13-07/13 4 28 Safekeeping *** n/a 02/14-04/14 7 25 Total: 39 189 372 * At first the working group was started independently of Justiz 3.0. The results were transferred to Justiz 3.0 in the form of reports. ** The recommendations were included in the reports of the relevant working groups. No separate report on the results was prepared. *** The results document was prepared on the basis of a preliminary study that was available already. The specific requirements and recommendations were then consolidated in a catalogue of rough requirements and analysed with regard to their impact on the IT of the justice system. As the result of that analysis the specific requirements were either identified as a merely organisational or as a law-making measure or recorded as an IT requirement. Subsequently IT requirements were allocated to specific project proposals of the road map. The Information System Architecture working group looked at the different IT requirements with a view to their impact on the architecture and allocated them to information systems accordingly. In addition, the requirements for new information systems which determine the architecture were recorded. Law-making and organisational recommendations will have to be evaluated in consultation with the responsible departments.

 3. How did the initiative solve the problem and improve people’s lives?
This initiative aims in a unique way for analyzing justice as a whole, trying to shape optimum IT-support for all the different users and fields of operation by using a single common platform, but providing different modules and plugins for individual needs and considering current technological developments and possibilities. The vision even encompasses the all-digital handling of proceedings. With participation of a wide array of employees from different lines of business, working groups focus for example on business processes like „inbox and file structure“, „decisions and decrees“ or „working place of decision-makers“, defining status quo and target state. In addition to and based upon the findings of these working groups the prospective architecture of information systems and technologies is drafted.

C. Execution and Implementation

 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
For introduction of a pilot for digital processing and management it has to be determined where (geographically), for whom (user group) and for what case type the rollout should be carried out. Furthermore it was determined, which set of building blocks (components and features) has to be introduced first to gain highest efficiency and user satisfaction. Another point to be decided within the relevant case type is whether only new cases will be managed digitally or whether pending cases are to be included as well. Rollout planning is based on certain framework conditions: material influencing factors must be determined and evaluation criteria must be defined. A comparison of those criteria including evaluation and explanation finally provides the basis for a specific rollout strategy. For implementation of all the defined requirements the "overall programme" as shown in Chart No. 8 of the overall report is suggested. The programme is supposed to modernise and renew the IT system of the Austrian justice system by 2020, so that comprehensive functionalities for a digital file management and digital processing in the sense of e-justice will be available.

 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
Due to the broad focus of the Justiz 3.0 initiative a programme organisation as depicted in Chart No. 2 of the overall report was chosen: Chart No. 2: Project organisation for Justiz 3.0 Strategic Control & Decision-making Body • Highest decision-making body; monitoring of project results and project progress; check and acceptance of project results Operational Control & Decision-making Body • Preparation of SSEG meetings; drafting project orders; decision-making at short notice; consolidation of the results obtained by the working groups Working groups on Business Architecture (AG-BA) • The working groups on Business Architecture (AG-GA) identify actual and target situations in the relevant areas (see Chapter 2.1) and present the results to the SSEG. Working Group on Information System Architecture (AG-ISA) and Working Group on Technology Architecture (AG-TA) During the strategy-finding phase of the Justiz 3.0 initiative representatives from all occupational groups and professional bodies, IT-experts as well as the highest ranking stakeholders from the Austrian Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Finance, Federal Computing Centre, Supreme Court, Procurator General's Office, the four Courts of appeal and Senior Prosecutor Offices as well as from the professional bodies of judges and other employees took part.
 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
For the initial phase, which resulted in the overall report, more than 100 experts from all occupational groups and professional bodies within the Austrian justice took part in the established working groups. The project was supervised, the tasks prepared and communicated and the outcome documented, whenever necessary clarified and summarized by the core team, consisting of 13 experts from the Ministry of Justice, the Federal Computing Centre and business partners. The project was and will be funded completely by means of the IT budget for the Austrian Ministry of Justice. Successful completion of the migration from host to server infrastructure in April 2014 and the intention to use at least part of the budgetary funds that became available as a result to modernise the IT structure of the justice system has created some additional financial leeway.

 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
The overall report concluding phase 1 of Justiz 3.0 was published and communicated in June 2014. It set a milestone on our road to: • Identifying the demand for modernisation and optimisation with regard to the business operations of the justice system and the current IT support based on the requirements and needs of practitioners (collecting data on the actual situation). • Involving all occupational groups and professional bodies to define the future IT support in the light of technological trends and possibilities (definition of the target situation). • Designing the future IT application landscape of the justice system taking into account relevant cost/benefit analyses and the potentials inherent in the use of modern technologies. • Improving the quality of the services offered to the public as well as increasing satisfaction of the staff. Based on this report and its implementation plan phase 2 of Justiz 3.0 is well underway, right now with a number of parallel projects to establish the foundations and basic functions for digital file management, among them organization, application and infrastructure for incoming scan and OCR, file system and DMS as well as workflow system.

 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
By choosing a project organization as depicted in our answer to question Nr. 2 we ensured not only the participation of all relevant judicial experts but also a constant flow of information, keeping the stakeholders in the loop on all results and strategic decisions.

 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
Aside from the challenge to come up with a vision so broad it encompasses all aspects of judicial work and its optimised IT-support as well as a feasible implementation plan, there was a certain amount of scepticism and reluctance to embrace proceedings even more focused on digital content and electronic communication. It was therefore paramount to actively address especially concerns about additional administrative work and expense arising from digital file management. For this purpose a rough analysis including a quantitative and qualitative assessment was carried out in order to evaluate the impact of digital file management. The results have shown that altogether almost all areas of the Austrian justice system can save time and improve quality by means of digital file management, i.e. the decision-making officers and the assistants. Digital file management allows working on files more efficiently and enables automated processes while use of scarce resources is optimised at the same time. In addition, flexibility of the decision-making officer will be enhanced by the possibility to work from any place. Moreover, costs arising in connection with storing and transportation of physical files can be reduced significantly as this is no longer necessary. Finally it was stressed that paper based work will still be an option wherever it may seem more suitable to the specific circumstances or a certain stage of a proceeding.

D. Impact and Sustainability

 10. What were the key benefits resulting from this initiative?
As pointed out, Justiz 3.0 concluded its phase 1 with the overall report (containing an implementation plan), phase 2 with parallel implementation projects is well underway. We can therefore highlight the most important improvements striven for, their benefits and consequences. For a complete list see pages 14 to 20 of the overall report: 1.) Several users will be able to access the complete file at the same time • Benefit: - Shortening the duration of proceedings through elimination of waiting time - Files can be inspected and information can be given at any time - Copies of files can be made easily • Consequences: - The entire contents of files must be available in digital form - Ensure that paper documents are digitised immediately, so that there is no difference between the paper file and the digital file - Consistent authorisation concept for internal and external persons authorised to read/edit files 2.) Working at any place will be possible • Benefit: - No paper files must be transported - More possibilities of processing files, as one is not limited to certain activities (e.g. only judgment files) • Consequences: - Mobile IT workplace equipment must be provided 3.) Users will be able to search, process and sort all file contents electronically • Benefit: - The entire text of the file can be searched - Flexible structuring of the file contents according to standard views and personal preferences (easier studying of files) - Text passages can easily be transferred to one's own texts through Copy & Paste - Creates the fundamental prerequisite for IT-based automation - Allows more efficient work with the file • Consequences: - All contents that have already been made available digitally (e.g. by way of electronic legal communication (ELC)) must be edited by means of OCR - All file contents on paper must be digitised and edited by means of OCR as well - Scanned documents must be subjected to visual examination and scanned again if the quality is not good enough - File contents must be based on structural data 4.) Primarily deliver outgoing documents centrally and electronically • Benefit: - Cost reduction through savings on postal charges, more efficient printing and no cost of material in the case of electronic delivery, reduction of space for archives - Less work through elimination of manual handling - Time savings through faster transmission and reduction in/no data to be entered by the recipient • Consequences: - Incoming paper files need to be digitised - Ensure that also paper documents that were created within the justice system are digitised immediately - Expand the obligation to use electronic legal communication - Use e-delivery services, supported by automatic identification of the parties involved in the proceedings 5.) It will be possible to allocate jobs within one file on an ad-hoc basis to any person or office defined in the system, if necessary by means of model procedures and in compliance with defined rules • Benefit: - Flexibility in the work process due to the possibility of (parallel) ad-hoc processes among persons and/or organisational units (e.g. decision-making officers, assistants' offices, team assistants and service centres) - Flexible cooperation within a future file processing system (anybody can communicate with anybody at any time) - Possibility of defining (process) rules in order to ensure compliance with certain processes - Recurring processes can be displayed through model procedures • Consequences: - Make available a flexible system for cooperation of all persons and offices involved

 11. Did the initiative improve integrity and/or accountability in public service? (If applicable)
Having created a consolidated eJustice vision for 2020 and an implementation plan we are confident that our initiative will guide us towards our defined goals in a sustained and future-proof way. With the budgetary background in place as sketched in question Nr. 6, we hope to make good progress and be able to stick to our roadmap. Since Justiz 3.0 chose business processes as foundation for its analysis and the envisioned solutions, it should be highly transferable to other (justice) systems. Though the actual means of implementation may of course vary from country to country, the general requirements, their benefits and consequences as well as the modularity should also be of universal validity.

 12. Were special measures put in place to ensure that the initiative benefits women and girls and improves the situation of the poorest and most vulnerable? (If applicable)
By means of the strategy-finding phase of the Justiz 3.0 initiative the need for future IT support for workplaces in the justice system was identified by including all occupational groups and professional bodies, also for the purposes of an efficient citizen service. For this purpose common requirements which apply to all working groups of the business architecture were developed, which, so to say, constitute the guard rails for the future steps in the Justiz 3.0 project. In this connection digital file management, i.e. where the complete file is available in digital form and can be inspected and processed by authorised persons at any time and place, has been identified as a material requirement. Irrespective thereof, the decision-making officer can choose between working with the file in paper form or electronically. On the basis of the identified requirements an information system architecture was developed, which is able to support those requirements by means of software components in the best possible way. In this respect initial projects for implementation of the strategy of Justiz 3.0 were defined, described and included in an overall plan. Some projects, as, for example, 'service of documents within the justice system (iERV)' have been launched already. After completion of the strategy-finding phase preparatory work for centrally required IT components of the future IT architecture of the justice system has begun. This includes, but is not limited to, a central file system, a cross-section workflow management system and a technical integration framework for connection of the current VJ to the first two components mentioned above. For support of those projects a job-related structure was established which keeps up exchange of information with the stakeholders of the Justiz 3.0 project. According to the latest plans, a first pilot run of digital file management will be available by the end of 2015, on the basis of which fine tuning with the various user groups can be done. Apart from the new developments in connection with Justiz 3.0 adaptations required by changes of the law and specific improvements of the existing IT systems of the justice system will still be made, which will also be based on proposals for improvement made by the working groups, as, for example, a reduction in procedural steps in VJ. We have learned that sufficient staffing with the appropriate qualifications right from the beginning is crucial. Last not least it was essential to ensure strong participation of all occupational groups and professional bodies and – while encouraging open discussions and brainstorming – swap ideas and spark visions by highlighting new (especially technological) developments, thus offering a guiding hand along the way towards eJustice.

Contact Information

Institution Name:   Federal Ministry of Justice
Institution Type:   Government Agency  
Contact Person:   Martin Schneider
Title:   Chief information officer  
Telephone/ Fax:   +43 1 52152 2176
Institution's / Project's Website:  
Address:   Museumstraße 7
Postal Code:   1070
City:   Vienna

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