How we halved the time to process on-line crime reports and are on track to halve our FOI requests

So we have been quiet with blog posts for a while. Sorry about that.

Things have been super busy and we have been working hard to deliver a range of improvements to the platform. As ever we are using our Agile approach to focus on the biggest value we can deliver in each two-week cycle.

We have been working with teams across the force to prioritise features and enhancements that will improve their workflow through digitisation of services, whilst improving the service to the public.

We have two big highlights to share.

Redesigned crime reporting form

We have introduced a range of guidance and triage to improve the experience for the public as well as how the information is retrieved by our staff who process the reports. For example, we have included guidance for the public to inform them the likely ability for us to be able to investigate a crime based on the information they are providing.

reporting form

Since our force changed its crime management system a while back we have worked closely with the team who process the inbound reports throughout this activity.

As a result of the work we have:

  • Reduced the number of inbound on-line reports, but…
  • have improved the quality, as previously around 40% weren’t crime reports
  • Threat risk, harm data is much easier to understand and faster to process by the receiving team
  • Inbound reports contain less information (which is good), and information is more relevant
  • Reports are “A lot faster” to read and analyse
  • On average the time to process has been halved
  • Reduced the number of “callbacks” required – those left are more relevant to the crime
  • Better information means where required the team can pass the cases on to the correct department reducing unnecessary internal demand
  • Non-crimes / incorrect forms that still slip through are a lot easier to identify

The team worked really hard on this and it was an excellent example of collaborative working with our crime management team.  In total, it only took us around four weeks.

We will continue to iterate the process based on feedback and have some more tweaks in the pipeline.

Freedom of information service

We introduced a triage into our FOI form to help prevent people using it for the wrong purpose and to guide them to the right place. We also spent time reviewing the categorisation of previous requests in order to reduce the number of duplicates we receive. This along with the addition of a page in the publication scheme has enabled users to find and browse previous requests much easier.

foi form

The result is a significant enhancement to our on-line FOI service.  Already we have greatly reduced the number of requests that need processing by the FOI team and the further work that would have been required by staff within the organisation to answer requests.

  • Reduction of requests through a new on-line triage process – early signs are this could half the number of requests
  • Improving Quality of Requests through a new on-line form – which results in fewer incorrect requests e.g. for “non-quantifiable” data
  • Deflection of demand through enhanced pro-active publication – resulting in the remaining 10% of requests being deflected to existing published material

Another example where the team worked closely with another part of the organisation to improve processes and further digitise where possible.  This was also done iteratively and continues to be monitored and evaluated.

We continue to work on opportunities to digitise processes. We have something exciting in the pipeline.  More to follow on that in the future.