HMPPS begins £4m project to replace ‘outdated’ prisoner data system

Newly built bespoke platform will process information including daily unlocking lists and activities to reduce recidivism

HM Prison and Probation Service has signed a £4m deal to replace a core national system for reporting and sharing data on prisoners.

According to newly published commercial documents, HMPPS – an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice – has awarded a contract to supplier Modular Data. The deal, which came into effect last month and runs for an initial term of two years, will see the London-based firm “build and deliver bespoke software that will replace HMPPS’s data reporting” platform, according to the terms of the contract.

This new software will replace “the current legacy reporting system and infrastructure [which] is outdated, cannot deliver and support” the aims of the wider MoJ digital strategy, which was published last year and sets out a range of objectives to be achieved by 2025.

The ageing prison data platform “is a priority to be replaced as it is blocking the work to replace other legacy systems”

Doing so will also allow HMMPS “to exit an expensive contract to provide the current reporting systems”, according to the agreement.

Moreover, it will enable the “capturing, storing and sharing [of] high-quality data across services leading to better and faster decision-making”.

The new platform will need to support reporting of and access to data in a number of fields, including “a list of prisoners to unlock each day and providing detailed management information that provides insight into what works to reduce reoffending”.

Using an “agile delivery model”, Modular Data is expected to spend the first six months constructing the core platform and “an initial data product” for use by HMPPS.

“The remaining 18 months will be broken into phases building subsequent data products and iterating and improving the platform,” the contact said. “At the end of the contract… the supplier will hand over the bespoke software and processes to MoJ teams, building capability within the MoJ throughout, and crucially so that, at the end of the contract, the MoJ are able to support and maintain the system.”

HMPPS is engaged in various efforts to migrate safely away from legacy systems, including the National Offender Management Information System, the Delius probation case-management tool, and the Offender Assessment System.

In a contract notice published last year, the agency said: “Our legacy estate is complex, built up and added to over the years. The operations of prisons and probation is complex with multiple dependencies on data and information that is entered for one purpose, but is subsequently consumed by other downstream services.”

Sam Trendall

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