Wayne Rajbansie, Director of Public Prosecutions, chose Eclipse’s Proclaim software for the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and talks us through his decision and subsequent ongoing use of Proclaim.
The ODPP, a constitutionally independent office, handles all aspects of Criminal Law and prosecution for the Territory, including Magisterial, High Court, Appeals and Privy Council.
As Director of Public Prosecutions, Wayne is expected to institute and undertake criminal proceedings, serve as the accounting officer, oversee day-to-day administration of the office, and liaise with the Governor, Commissioner of Police and other institutions on criminal matters.
Why did you decide to install a Case Management system?
As part of the drive to increase efficiencies within the office, we conducted a review of our internal IT infrastructure and came to the conclusion that we needed to phase out our manual systems and embrace innovative and future-proof technology.
We were looking for a scalable but robust system that could grow with our ever-expanding needs, whilst also facilitating the flexibility we required to shape our services around the local statutes and criminal procedures.
Furthermore, it was imperative the new software had an in-depth reporting toolset to enable us to record accurate crime statistics and patterns for the Territory – and in a timely manner – which would in turn, allow us to conduct an analysis of data and track any delays in the processing of matters.
Why did you choose Eclipse as your software provider?
After a detailed market analysis, we found Eclipse to be the only provider with a renowned reputation as the industry market leader. Upon a detailed demonstration of Proclaim, it became clear the functionality and overall flexibility of the system significantly stood apart from other providers.
Furthermore, after speaking with Eclipse about our requirements, we were able to work in conjunction with the team to build a bespoke system specific to the needs of the ODPP.
Additionally, as we are located overseas, the consultancy, training and support aspects were of grave importance to us in our selection process – we needed a supplier who would be available to provide these services pre and post implementation, regardless of location and time difference. From the outset, Eclipse proved extremely flexible and offered continuous support to ensure our Proclaim installation went smoothly.
What are the day-to-day benefits of Proclaim?
One of the main benefits is the way in which Proclaim organises our data. In our area of work, it’s imperative that we are able to produce precise statistics and reports quickly and efficiently in order to make accurate decisions. As all information is centrally stored within the database, it means staff can find the relevant data immediately – from court sentences and supervision orders to bail conditions and curfew orders – all available on-screen upon case opening, which speeds up the entire process and fits in line with our strategy to drive efficiency within the ODPP.
Elements such as the calendar management tool are invaluable – the automatic creation of entries and reminders means we can track cases and files in an efficient and timely manner, whilst also ensuring Counsel meet all court set deadlines. Proclaim’s ability to produce ongoing reminders to take specific steps at specific times is vital as we have full accountability for case files and as part of this, we must be able to track any delays in the progression of matters.
Essentially, the complete flexibility of database creation within Proclaim is a major benefit to us. Using the inbuilt toolsets we can tailor it at any time to suit our requirements ensuring we have centralised access to information on a variety of subjects from criminal records and sentencing guidelines to individual sentences, nationality and juveniles.
Finally, as part of the drive to increase efficiencies across the ODPP, Proclaim’s integrated audit trail tool has proven instrumental in accounting for the overall progression of files. The history screen tracks every single in/out transaction taken by an individual, including memos, documents, emails and phone calls; ensuring any activity (or inactivity) is recorded for viewing by authorised users.
How has Proclaim been tailored to fit with the local statutes and criminal procedures?
Proclaim’s flexible nature means we have been able to configure it to match our Criminal Code and law. For each offense, we have a matching section of Criminal Code and this is all contained within our Proclaim system, enabling staff to input details accurately and without the need for duplicate data entry. This has proven an invaluable time saver whilst also greatly reducing the risk of human error. Additionally, data fields, front-end screens and workflow steps are all easily tailorable so if any aspect needs changing our staff can simply mould the system to fit new requirements.
As we are part of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States, we will soon be working under new Criminal Procedure Rules which will regulate how we manage criminal offenses. The system Eclipse has provided means we are already prepared for these procedures, ensuring we can hit the ground running as soon as they are implemented. Furthermore, the integrated task list tool will play a vital role in assisting Counsel with meeting new deadlines and submission dates. The powerful tool enables us to post reminder memos on individual cases, and automatically updates depending on the actions staff have taken. Taking this further, the task escalation procedure means deadlines will never be missed as Proclaim alerts us to any imminent or overdue tasks.
How do you use the reporting suite to analyse data?
Exact and rapid data analysis is critical for accurate decision making. Using Proclaim, not only can we report upon any amount or type of data for comparison (driven by a simple ‘drag and drop’ method), but we can also benefit from real-time data sharing throughout the ODPP.
The integrated reporting suite enables us to operate extremely efficiently by providing us with the ability to track timelines for file progression and therefore eliminate potential delays, but perhaps most importantly, account for any file activity to ensure staff are held fully accountable.
Internally, we use Proclaim to generate reports for the police criminal records database, including court sentences, supervision orders and monitoring curfew orders and bail conditions. Taking this further, the drill-down capabilities help us to track any crime patterns within the Territory, as well as location, nationality, age of offenders, percentage of recidivism as well as the type and prevalence of offenses. The level of detail available to us means we can produce accurate statistics which in turn, can assist with our policy formation to pro-actively address crime.
Thanks to Proclaim we are greatly enhancing our efficiency and streamlining the administrative tasks that are integral to our processes. The sheer scope of toolsets available to us means we can tailor the system as and when we need to – without the intervention of external IT experts – to meet any ongoing legislative changes.
Overall, Proclaim is the clear market leader and is now a fundamental part of our organisation. Essentially, the system is crucial to us in driving our cases to an effective outcome.