Queensland justice department seeks to replace legacy IT platforms

Aims to replace unsupported three-decade-old jury admin system as part of Agile transformation program

gavel / abstract binary lines  >  court judgment / fine / penalty / settlement
Thinkstock / Gerd Altmann

QJAS — the key database used to manage jury administration in Queensland courts — is more than three decades old and relies on a legacy platform that is no longer supported by the vendor. In addition, according to Queensland’s Department of Justice and Attorney-General (DJAG) only a few of its employees have any real knowledge of QJAS, and documentation for the system “is minimal and in some cases, non-existent”.

Replacing the system is an early focus of an ambitious effort to overhaul the department’s legacy-riddled applications.

QJAS is responsible for helping select, schedule and pay jurors that sit for cases in Queensland’s Supreme Court and District Court. The system has around 180 users and is responsible for distributing out more than 322,000 questionnaires and selecting more than 27,000 jurors a year.

Rolling out a replacement for QJAS is an early goal of what DJAG says is the “beginning of a continuous delivery cycle” for its core applications as part of its ICT Strategy Implementation Program.

The department’s IT strategy is based on the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) (using the Essential SAFe Configuration), with the DJAG digital transformation program operating as an agile release train (ART).

DJAG has begun seeking a partner to support its replacement of QJAS, as well as build out a new civil case management system for the Queensland Magistrates Court and the Queensland Civil and Administrative Tribunal (with the system’s scope expected to eventually be expanded to cover the  Supreme, District and Land courts).

The Queensland Magistrates Courts currently uses CLAIMS — Civil Listing And Information Management System — for managing civil cases. The system is also used by QCAT to manage a range of issues including minor civil disputes.

“The system is more a case meta-data manager (e.g. providing structure and organisation of proceeding-related information) rather than a provider of rich case flow and case management functionality,” a document released by the department state.

“The system is not capable of supporting electronic case notes, managing person-related cases or scheduling of resources and events, which are all essential capabilities underpinning business process.”

CLAIMS is currently accessed by around 750 users. In 2018-19 more than 23,500 minor civil disputes were lodged in CLAIMS, while there were more than 29,800 lodgements for the Magistrates Courts.

Only around a fifth of the documents in matters covered by CLAIMS were lodged electronically in 2018-19, according to the department. Many matters rely on manual management and “require individual upload and printing,” the department said.

“Currently there is limited internal capacity and a low level of maturity in the delivery of system replacements,” a document released by the department as part of an invitation to offer (ITO) states.

“There are some positions in ICT federated groups within the department with solution delivery responsibilities. Solutions have historically been developed in isolation within federated groups and with limited enterprise-level oversight or direction.”

Bringing a partner on board is intended “to help with small steps of maturity through DJAG personnel working alongside experienced professional, work shadowing opportunities and the successful vendor sharing skillsets, frameworks, patterns and other materials and knowledge.”

DJAG is eyeing a “co-production” model where specialists are embedded with department staff, with the aim of building eventual self-sufficiency.

The department is targeting a contract start date of May-June 2020, with an industry briefing scheduled for 30 January.

Although its initial focus is on replacing CLAIMS and QJAS, the department says there are 50 applications used for case or customer management that are potential candidates for modernisations.

The department’s ICT Strategy Implementation Program kicked off in April 2019 and covers the first two years of its 2018-2023 ICT strategy. So far it has included rolling out a new information security management system for Births, Deaths and Marriages.

Copyright © 2020 IDG Communications, Inc.

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