Government considering use of unique IDs across justice system

Written by Sam Trendall on 14 June 2022 in News
News

Minister claims that efforts to replace legacy tech provide opportunity to adopt new system

Credit: Lonpicman/CC BY-SA 3.0

The government is exploring the possibility of introducing a system of unique identifiers for all users of the justice system.

The idea has previously been proposed by the likes of Dr Natalie Byrom – a director of charity The Legal Education Foundation who was seconded to HM Courts and Tribunals Service in 2019 to produce a government-backed report on how data and digital could be better used in the justice system.

Three years on, and one of her most prominent recommendations – a full evaluation of a the possible introduction of unique IDs for courts users – remains under consideration, according to James Cartlidge, a junior minister at the Ministry of Justice with responsibility for courts. He added that ongoing efforts to reduce the use of ageing tech across the justice system makes the proposal ever-more feasible.


Related content


“A full assessment of the impact has not been carried out, however we have been considering where such an identifier might be used in the future,” he said. "Our work on replacing legacy technologies opens up the potential for progressing this, and as part of this work we would assess the risks and impacts further. We are also engaged more broadly with the Government Digital Service on their single ID for government programme.”

The minister added that the MoJ’s digital function has been allocated £1m to spend during the 2022/23 year to make “improvements in its data infrastructure”. 

“In addition, for 2022/23, £3m has been allocated within MoJ HQ to fund data improvement and £2m has been allocated as part of a Criminal Justice System data improvement programme,” he said. “In line with its published data strategy, HMCTS has also been investing in its data function. This includes a £1m annual uplift to the running costs of the team and £6.2m investment in the financial year 2022/23.”

Cartlidge was responding to written parliamentary questions from Steve Reed – Labour’s shadow justice secretary and the MP for Croydon North.

In her report, Byrom said that: "Unique identifiers at the user, rather than case level would facilitate the development of a detailed understanding of the way in which court users progress through the system, where and when they exit the system, and the outcomes they secure when they do so. This would support HMCTS to deliver a better service to users of reformed systems and meet their public commitments... If appropriately anonymised, this data could also be of use to researchers and wider stakeholders, including policymakers. Experts in privacy law and data ethics should be consulted to advise on the benefits and drawbacks of this approach and ensure that this data is captured, stored and utilised in a manner that respects established legal and ethical requirements. The public acceptability of the creation of individual identifiers should be tested prior to their introduction." 

 

About the author

Sam Trendall is editor of PublicTechnology. He can be reached on sam.trendall@dodsgroup.com.

Share this page

Tags

Categories

CONTRIBUTIONS FROM READERS

Please login to post a comment or register for a free account.

Related Articles

Government sets up £20m compensation pot for victims who fought to expose Post Office IT scandal
30 June 2022

Increased funding is set to more than double the money received by those who brought group legal action – with more support to follow

Government launches unified online portal for gender-recognition applications
30 June 2022

Service was ‘developed and tested with trans people’ to help reduce administrative burden of gaining legal recognition of gender

Railways: Digital signalling to be introduced from Grantham to London in £1bn rollout
30 June 2022

Government unveils plan to ‘replace Victorian infrastructure’ across routes in counties to the immediate north of the capital

‘Remote monitoring and virtual wards’ – Javid unveils NHS tech transformation plan to clear Covid backlogs
29 June 2022

Health secretary claims that use of NHS app is ‘at the heart of’ strategy to reform health service