Payment no longer needs to be taxing for Ministry of Justice

Dynamics CRM handling 24,000 claims and £50m of payments annually

The National Taxing Team (NTT), part of the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has gone live with a cloud based case management system based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, from public sector CRM specialists Optevia. The case management system handles upwards of 24,000 cases annually and is responsible for processing in excess of £50 million of solicitors’ and barristers’ claims. It was procured through the Cabinet Office’s G-Cloud Framework.

The NTT is responsible for assessing and determining the level of claims solicitors and barristers can apply for when they represent defendants in certain criminal cases. If, for example, a court awards costs then in certain cases the NTT is responsible for ensuring costs are handled, documented and processed correctly.

Pre Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the NTT was using an old system, POLAR, based on Access. Beverley Wilstrop, the National Taxing Team Director at the MoJ comments: “We had a very outdated system that our IT support partner would only support on a ‘best endeavors’ basis. It was very out of date and did not incorporate the business processes of the NTT. Essentially, we were operating with our hands tied.

Like all public sector organisations, we had been under pressure to transform, reduce costs and be more efficient – but our systems could not support that drive. No matter how much we needed to, we were unable to modify the POLAR system.”

In late 2013, early 2014 the NTT tendered through G-Cloud 5 for a new case management system. Following a mini competition between five organisations and then shortlisted to two, Optevia was awarded the contract.

Beverley comments: “We wanted to be able to take control of our system; for us to be self reliant and have a system that could flex and change as we needed.

Optevia had experience in this sector; they were already in discussions with the UK Supreme Court and they understood very quickly our requirements and were committed to developing a solution that worked for us.”

The new system, with 45 users, eases the administrative burden and complexities of assessing and processing claims. Users now have remote access to the system and can see the status of all claims and associated documentation instantly. This enables NTT to manage the demands of their business and allocate resources more efficiently.

It includes built in financial control checks – so for instance the same assessor is not allowed to input a claim on the system, allocate the claim and be responsible for determining the claim. Dynamics CRM also integrates with NTT’s payment provider, Liberata, so the move to the new system for customers was seamless.

In the future, NTT will be looking at the option of providing portal access to solicitors and barristers so they can upload documents and details of claims directly to the new CRM solution themselves. This will help further improve efficiency by significantly reducing the current manual loading of cases whilst also providing improved information to solicitors and barristers..

Tim Vernon, Managing Partner, Optevia comments: “Working with the NTT team was a real pleasure. They had vision and were committed to this project from the outset with great lines of communication throughout. We worked collaboratively with NTT to develop and deliver a far more intuitive system than they previously had. It provides insights into daily activities of the team and enables resources to be allocated far more efficiently.”

The appeal of Dynamics CRM

Highest court in the land selects Optevia for case management

The UK Supreme Court (UKSC) and the Judicial Court of the Privy Council (JCPC) have selected Microsoft Dynamics CRM in the cloud from public sector CRM specialist Optevia. Dynamics CRM Online is being used as the core case management system across both courts and is currently in a beta test with an integrated electronic case management system.

The Optevia case management system provides access to case files, auditing, and details of appeals at the point of need. The medium term goal is for Dynamics CRM to be fully integrated to the UKSC and JCPC websites, enabling real-time information about cases to be made available to the public without the need for manual intervention by Court staff.  In the future, Freedom of Information (FOI) requests and other public correspondence will be stored on Dynamics CRM.

The Optevia solution was procured via the G-cloud framework and chosen to replace a less flexible case management system introduced before the Court opened in 2009.

Paul Brigland, Head of ICT Services & Departmental Records Officer at the Supreme Court, explains: “Between 2009 and 2013 our IT infrastructure and the applications running on it were not fully fit for purpose. Our case management system was designed with much larger caseloads in mind, meaning that basic tasks could prove very time consuming. The system could also be very slow, many due to our server environment, which also impacted on remote access.”

UKSC and JCPC selected Dynamics CRM from Optevia because it is a system that can be self managed and developed by its own in-house IT team. It enables the UKSC and JCPC to add new functionality as and when needed, at a fraction of the cost of the previous supplier.

Paul continues: “Dynamics CRM for us was all about agility and flexibility – being able to interrogate the system for reporting purposes and develop the system according to our future requirements was crucial”.

“Additionally, the Court’s Justices need access to the case management system remotely – whether working out of their home office, abroad in international courts – which they are sometimes required to do – or even on their smartphone ensuring they have the information they require about individual cases at the point of need.”

Tim Vernon, Managing Director, Optevia, comments: “UKSC and JCPC are a flagship for other judicial systems around the world and are frequently visited by international judicial services to review best IT practice. This project is one of the most innovative undertaken by any judicial system anywhere to date and it demonstrates all too well Optevia’s ability to harness the flexibility of Dynamics CRM for Public Sector case management.”

In October 2009, The Supreme Court replaced the Appellate Committee of the House of Lords as the highest court in the United Kingdom. The Court hears appeals on arguable points of law of the greatest public importance, for the whole of the United Kingdom in civil cases, and for England, Wales and Northern Ireland in criminal cases. The Judicial Committee of the Privy Council is the court of final appeal for UK overseas territories and Crown dependencies, and for those Commonwealth countries that have retained the appeal to Her Majesty in Council or, in the case of Republics, to the Judicial Committee. In total, the UKSC and JCPC hear around 130 appeals every year, and make determinations on a further 200 or so written applications. The two bodies are based in the former Middlesex Guildhall, on the western side of Parliament Square.