GDS this week: Ministry of Justice transformation update

Last week we paid a visit to the Ministry of Justice to find out more about the innovative work going on there to bring legal services online. Kit Collingwood tells us about how great it feels for the Lasting Power of Attorney team to have been nominated for a Civil Service Award; Daniela Tzvetkova talks about the value of open source and how Court Finder has been picked up and re-used by the European courts; and Eliot Fineberg reports on the latest steps in the Civil Claims exemplar's development from Alpha towards Beta phase.

Follow Daniela Tzvetkova and Eliot Fineberg on Twitter:

Daniela Tzvetkova (Service Manager, Information Services): @daulfn

Eliot Fineberg (Service Manager, Civil Claims): @eliotfineberg


Kit Collingwood (Service Manager, Lasting Power of Attorney):
Last week the LPA (Lasting Power of Attorney) digital team were shortlisted for a Civil Service Award for operational excellence. The tool was co-designed between GDS and OPG (Office of the Public Guardian) and it's one of GDS' 25 exemplars. It's now being supported by MoJ's (Ministry of Justice's) digital services and it's great to have that partnership recognised.

Daniela Tzvetkova (Service Manager, Information Services):
Court Finder went live in August of this year. It allows you to search for information on courts, such as address, contact information, emails, areas of law that they service, how to get there. Almost immediately we open sourced it because we knew about the benefits of open data and open source. Very quickly everybody started noticing that there's a faster and better way to search for courts and data related to these courts. That reached the European Commission and they thought that the tool could actually be reused for searching information for courts across Europe, and because it's open sourced already they could just copy what we've done and build on top of it to service the more complex requirements of the European Courts.

Eliot Fineberg (Service Manager, Civil Claims): 
Civil Claims are a way for the public to solve civil legal disputes or obtain money or property owed. Examples of property claims might be tenants not paying the rent, homeowners not paying the mortgage, or squatters living in a property. We are trying to build a universal civil claims system. The service will allow you to do that process online. Moving from Alpha into early non-live Beta allows us to start planning what we need to do to produce a live Beta by March. The reception to the Alpha has been good. By delivering a piece of software or a slice of the service that is demonstrably better, not only have you done that thinking that allows you to more quickly run into Beta, you also win over parts of the organisation because they actually see the output of what you're doing, rather than the theory of it.