Are You Following the E-Court Maturity Model?
April 29, 2019 by
Moving your court from paper shuffling to paperless doesn’t happen overnight. Many instances of successful, sustainable evolution start with a long-term vision and continue with incremental steps.
Particularly when staff turnover can result in regular retraining on just the basics, a long-term plan and solid roadmap keep everyone on track with a clear end goal. Continuous, thoughtful improvement also advances court systems along a natural progression as opposed to undertaking a disruptive overhaul every decade or so.
“Continuous improvement means to always be in constant adjustment,” LeNora Ponzo, chief clerk and court administrator, State Court of Fulton County, Georgia, told Tyler in in a 2018 interview. “Don’t look at Go Live as being final. You have to always be looking for ways to improve your process.”
The Maturity Model Roadmap
Tyler has outlined this continuous improvement, so stages are accessible and not left up to guesswork or chance. The detailed E-Court Maturity Model maps the steps any court system can take to plan a successful evolution from paper-based operations to a completely electronic court.
Kevin Iwerson, chief information officer for the Idaho Courts, recently told Tyler, “We use the Maturity Model to help identify the successes that we've implemented as well as the opportunities that are still in front of us, and we've used the maturity model to inform our multi-year strategy… The maturity model has helped us to refrain from falling into an atrophy state…”
Moving through a process of continuous assessment and improvement includes steps in:
- The courtroom
- Case management and case resolution
- Transparency and citizen self-service
- Attorney access and engagement
- Integration with multiple justice partners
By implementing the capabilities shown in the table and, over time, moving toward the top of the chart, courts and justice partners eliminate paper and become more efficient.
Results in Idaho include enhanced interaction with the state bar that allows attorneys to file electronically anywhere at any time, 24/7. Efficiencies in the courts have also made day-to-day life easier. Judges who were wary of technology are now automation’s biggest fans because of their ability to access and review cases online. The public, too, has information available at their fingertips. Modernization, Iwerson said, “has dramatically changed the day-to-day life in our courts and the way that we interact with anybody who operates within the court system.”
The State Court of Fulton County, Georgia, achieved an “Advanced Electronic” designation by Tyler on its Justice Partner and Attorney dimensions. The court efficiently processed all financial transactions electronically, which vastly simplified staff work and eliminated the need to maintain separate data sources. This also reduced the risk of errors from redundant manual data entry. Even at the top of the chart, the court continues to evolve, and recently went live with online dispute resolution for small claims.
Any court that embarks on a pathway to digital maturity will experience noteworthy differences in daily operations almost immediately. Those benefits expand with each additional step, and include:
- Reduced staff time spent processing files
- Increased access to current, accurate case details for court staff, attorneys, and the public
- Convenience for judges who can electronically view and sign orders from anywhere
- Saved time and money
- Reduced risk of error and improved data accuracy and reliability
- Meaningful collaboration that fosters positive community change
Innovative use of modern software solutions can transform complex court processes and recurring manual tasks into streamlined, connected, and automated systems.