Parole Board staff work remotely and needed to collaborate on documents in real time. Vohkus designed and managed a solution including Office 365, Sharepoint and Skype for Business.
The Parole Board of England and Wales is an independent body that carries out risk assessments on prisoners to determine whether they can be safely released into the community. It is an executive nondepartmental public body, sponsored by the Ministry of Justice. Most of the Parole Board’s 170+ members work remotely, either from home, in prisons, or on the road. Because of complexity of information and need for confidentiality the Board had become over-reliant on paper-based systems.
Dossiers were transported by secure courier to and from head office and members’ home addresses, resulting in high costs and inefficiencies in the speed at which cases could be handled. Critically, there was no way to collaborate on documents in real time, so that any query could result in another round of couriers before information could be presented. The Board engaged Vohkus to help it devise and execute a strategy that would address these numerous business challenges.
Identifying and implementing the right technology
Vohkus recognised that this client’s unique challenges made it an ideal candidate for cloud-based collaboration, and that this could be best achieved using public services. However, there were clear concerns around both data security and data sovereignty, and Vohkus made immense efforts to ensure these were addressed. Vohkus’ solution was based around using Exchange Online – part of Office 365 – as a primary means of communication. Using standard tools and proprietary methodologies Vohkus migrated users to the platform. Members were able to download current versions of the Office suite as part of the contract. For real-time communication Vohkus introduced the Board to Skype for Business and SharePoint, so that documents and dossiers could be easily viewed, shared and collaborated on. For convenience and to maintain security, members were issued with HP mobile devices that would enable authentication on the system. Vohkus implemented Microsoft’s Enterprise Management and Security suite, including Azure Active Directory, Advanced Threat Analytics and Intune.
Improved service delivery
Staff included within the Office 365 migration can now email files with ease and in the future can securely collaborate on parole board work Parole Board work via a mixture of Skype for Business and SharePoint. Office 365 is a more reliable email system that the Parole Board had before. By accessing the Board’s proprietary case management system through their tablets, staff can now save case documents (edossiers) to their Office 365 accounts. This has delivered an additional benefit by saving on the cost of couriers. The project director for the Parole Board of England and Wales said: “Vohkus’ advice and expertise as part of the Parole Board’s Digital programme has been instrumental in achieving a robust, secure and flexible solution built around our needs.”