Digitising Justice

April 1, 2015 by No Comments | Category Digital Public Services,

Transforming how we think; how we engage and how we deliver services to citizens and users – Guest blog from Stuart Duncan, Justice Digital Strategy Programme Director

We live in an increasingly digital world where how we live and how we work is being influenced by technology. Our Justice systems are changing too and we want to be at the forefront of this innovation and use new technologies to shape our systems of the future.

We want to use digital technology wherever possible to broaden access to justice, improve quality of service and safeguard the rights of citizens and users. By digitising our justice systems and operating efficient processes, we can at the same time lower our costs.

In helping us deliver this, the Digital Strategy for Justice in Scotland sets three key objectives:

  1. we want to allow people and businesses to access the right information at the right time;
  2. we want to fully digitise our Justice systems; and
  3. we want to make data work for us.

Developing content on that is based on user needs is central to giving people access to the right information at the right time. From a Justice perspective, providing the right information is about giving people access to data and services which help them address the root cause of the issues they are facing so it does not fester and develop into something more serious and which might mean they need to turn to the courts to resolve.

Home Owners’ Support Fund

One of the areas citizens are telling us they need help with is around mortgage arrears, housing repossession and debt. We have been working very closely with the Digital Public Services & Business Transformation Division of the Digital Directorate, and Housing Directorate to develop content for around managing finances and debt. On 1 April, we will be going live with advice and assistance for people who are in danger of housing repossession and making them aware of the Home Owners’ Support Fund.

Life events

The key difference with these pages is that it is not about providing static information on one subject matter – threads together advice and assistance on a range of related matters that will help people deal with the causes and effects of their problems. So for example, while someone may be facing housing repossession, we know, from speaking with citizens, that often the root cause of their problem is the loss of a job, or problems with benefits or even family-related issues. The content we have developed will thread all of this together.


We could not have done this without the help and assistance of the Digital Public Services & Business Transformation Division. Alan Rodden, Stakeholder Manager, and the team really grasped the issues we were looking to resolve and the user journey we were looking to create. Some of the housing problems people face are extremely complex, however the researchers and analysts skilfully, and methodically, worked through these and have created a simple, but very effective, communication and advice centre which people can access easily through a web browser.

The success of the housing pages has really energised the Justice team. We want to build on this early win and, working with Digital Public Services & Business Transformation Division, we have plans to do more work around housing-related issues, plus also providing information and advice for victims and witnesses of crime.



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