Probation Circular

To inform Probation Areas about the XHIBIT Crown Court System and CJS Exchange Portal and how they can benefit from utilising these new tools. REFERENCE NO: 52/2005 ISSUE DATE: 14th July 2005 IMPLEMENTATION DATE: Immediate EXPIRY DATE: 14th July 2010 TO: Chairs of Probation Boards Chief Officers of Probation Secretaries of Probation Boards CC: Board Treasurers Regional Managers AUTHORISED BY: Roger McGarva, Head of Regions & Performance Management ATTACHED: Annex A

Chief Officers should ensure that: • Where XHIBIT and the Exchange Portal are already operational in their Area, they take note of this guidance and draw on it to improve existing procedures. • Where XHIBIT and the Exchange Portal are not yet operational, they study this guidance and ensure that staff are geared up to make proper use of these tools when they become operational.

The developments outlined at Annex A have the potential to improve the operational efficiency of staff based in the Crown Courts and staff based outside the Courts who receive hearing progress information, PSR requests and results from the Crown Court. Areas are encouraged to make changes to business processes when XHIBIT and the Exchange Portal are operational in their Area. These processes relate to receiving Court lists, hearing progress information, results/orders and PSR requests. The NPS Business Plan sets strengthening the presence of Probation staff in and around the Court as a key priority. XHIBIT and the Portal will allow Probation staff to work much more effectively in the Crown Courts and provide a speedier and more efficient service. Under the Business Plan, Chief Officers are asked to ensure that good liaison arrangements exist with Court staff to allow problems to be resolved earlier and encourage mutually beneficial ways of working. Effective liaison at a local level is essential if the benefits of this system are to be fully realised. Effective use of XHIBIT and Portal will contribute to the requirement on each Probation Area to achieve year on year efficiency gains of 3%. To monitor the take-up and effectiveness of XHIBIT and the Portal and other projects, NOMS will shortly be implementing a Benefit Realisation Strategy which will evidence this contribution to the efficiency target.


Business: Oliver Dean, NOMS Sentencing Team 020 7035 1765, IT: Mark Savoie, NOMS OIS 020 7217 8321,

National Probation Directorate
Horseferry House, Dean Ryle Street, London, SW1P 2AW

Please refer to the following attachment: Annex A

PC52/2005 – Xhibit and the CJS Exchange Xhibit Portal 2

Annex A 1. Background 1.1 The CJS Exchange XHIBIT Portal is a computer system which allows authorised users from Criminal Justice Organisations (CJOs) to share detailed Crown Court hearing information sent from XHIBIT (XHIBIT IS NOT AVAILABLE IN THE MAGISTRATES COURTS) . XHIBIT (EXchange of Hearing Information By Internet Technology) puts a computer in every Courtroom allowing Court Clerks to maintain an electronic log of events, as they happen. 1.2 XHIBIT sends information to the CJS Exchange Portal (referred to hereafter as “the Portal”) making it available to Probation staff and a wider community of users through a web browser. The Portal is updated by XHIBIT as events occur. It provides Probation staff with access to information on the progress of cases, Court results and various Court documents, such as lists. It also enables them to set up electronic notification alerts to themselves or others. Alerts are sent to staff telling them that an event (such as a request for a PSR) has occurred, by email, fax or text message (SMS). XHIBIT Terminals 1.3 The Department for Constitutional Affairs (DCA) has agreed that those Probation staff in the Crown Court precinct will have access to selected information from XHIBIT itself from a DCA provided terminal which will be located within the Probation office in the Court House. The number of XHIBIT terminals available to Probation staff is likely to be limited to one per Court, but in some cases more may be available and an additional printer may be justified. This will be for Areas to negotiate locally with the XHIBIT Project Team. Hearing information from XHIBIT is provided to Probation staff from the Court in which they are based. Accessing the Portal 1.4 The Portal is available to Probation staff both in and outside the Court and can be accessed through any Probation IT infrastructure (STEPS) desktop. STEPS Briefing Note 105 issued to Area IT contacts on 10 March gives more details including responsibilities for user administration. The Portal provides access to information for all Crown Courts in England and Wales. Importantly, the Portal allows any case to be viewed from any STEPS desktop irrespective of the Court where the case is taking place. 1.5 Areas should consider who needs access to the Portal. Early indications are that there will be in the order of 1,000 NPS Portal users when the national roll-out is completed. 2. Roll-Out 2.1 XHIBIT and the Portal were piloted at Snaresbrook Crown Court during 2004 and went fully live there in November 2004. The pilot enabled DCA and CJIT to improve the IT systems prior to national roll-out. Further improvements have been made this year.


2.2 National roll-out of XHIBIT and the Portal, across the 42 Criminal Justice Areas (CJA), began in December 2004 and is scheduled for completion by the end of March 2006. The Portal is being introduced and implemented through the Local Criminal Justice Boards (LCJBs) in each CJA. Roll out began with 4 Early Adopter Areas (Durham, Cleveland, Bedfordshire and Hertfordshire), each with a single Crown Court only. 2.3 At the beginning of July 2005, the Portal was up and running in 22 Areas. The target go live dates for Areas are shown below: ‘Go Live’ date
March to June 05

Criminal Justice Area
Avon & Somerset, Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Cleveland, Derbyshire, Durham, Essex, Gloucestershire, Hertfordshire, Kent, Lancashire, Leicestershire, Lincolnshire, Norfolk, North Yorkshire, Nottinghamshire, South Yorkshire, Staffordshire, Suffolk, Warwickshire, West Mercia and West Yorkshire. Devon & Cornwall and Merseyside London (1st Crown Court) and Surrey London (last Crown Court), Gwent and South Wales Cumbria, Dorset, Northumbria and West Midlands Humberside and Sussex Cheshire, Dyfed Powys, Northamptonshire and North Wales Hampshire and Thames Valley Greater Manchester and Wiltshire

July 05 August 05 October 05 November 05 December 05 January 06 February 06 March 06

3. Training and Support for Probation Staff 3.1 Probation staff based at Court are invited to attend an awareness session about six weeks before the Court’s go-live date at the Crown Court. This will be a joint presentation about XHIBIT and the Portal and members of the DCA XHIBIT project team and CJIT will be available to answer questions. XHIBIT Training and Support 3.2 Computer Based Training (CBT) will be provided to Court-based Probation staff to enable them to get the most from XHIBIT and the features that benefit them and their role the most. The XHIBIT Team Member assigned to the Court will explain to Probation staff how to use the CBT and will advise them when they should attend to sign them into the system and when they will be available on site for advice. 3.3 Also, each Court appoints a member of its own staff as an XHIBIT Change Coordinator (XCC) whose role is to provide information about the implementation of XHIBIT to staff within the Court. The Co-ordinator will understand the features of XHIBIT that will be available to Probation staff and how the CBT works. 3.4 The first point of contact for queries about XHIBIT should be the XCC in the local Crown Court. The XHIBIT National Support Centre monitors overall system 2

performance and will keep Courts informed of system performance issues, if they arise, and provide updates about how to resolve them through the XHIBIT Team Member and XCC. 3.5 Court based Probation staff should expect to be assisted by DCA XHIBIT team ‘floor walking’ support during the go-live period of 2-4 weeks. The level of support will depend on the size of the Court. Portal Training and Support 3.6 The Portal roll-out is managed by the CJIT Deployment Team. This Team will establish two Probation contacts in each Area, with one to lead on the business issues side and once to cover IT issues. CJIT will work with these contacts through the implementation phase and will provide support to the local Area following the launch for a period of four weeks. 3.7 Portal training has been customised for each CJO. Although CJIT will lead on the training they will not be able to train all users. Instead the approach will be to ‘train the trainer’. Each Probation Area will be expected to nominate at least two trainers. CJIT will provide the necessary materials and support (including ‘train the trainer’ material) to allow the trainers from Areas to train their own staff. 4. Benefits and Business Process Changes 4.1 The introduction of XHIBIT and the Portal has the potential to bring about a number of benefits for the Probation Service. These benefits are predominately around time saving in seeking out, receiving and relaying information from the Court. The Portal alerts function also allows Probation staff to be notified electronically when reports are requested and when orders are made. Probation staff may spend less time waiting in Court for events to occur or chasing Clerks for information. 4.2 To realise these benefits Areas will need to change their business processes taking account of the new tools available to them. Effective liaison with Court staff at local level is also essential to ensure that Court staff inputting data onto XHIBIT are aware of exactly what information Probation require. Effective liaison will also allow problems to be resolved earlier and encourage mutually beneficial ways of working. Consideration should be given to adapting business processes as explained below. A) Receiving Lists (running, daily, warned & firm) from Crown Court. Currently lists from Court are collected by hand or faxed to Probation after which they are photocopied and distributed to staff Through XHIBIT and the Portal this process could be changed: • • XHIBIT users may access the list as soon as it is made on XHIBIT. Portal users can view or download every list as soon as it is issued to the Portal.


Portal users, or through them other Probation staff, can receive an alert by email or text message (SMS) notifying them that the list is available.

B) Obtaining Hearing Progress Information. Currently, Probation staff need to telephone the general office or visit Court staff to get advice on the progress of a case. Through XHIBIT and the Portal this process could be changed: • • XHIBIT users may track cases on the system as they progress Portal users, or through them other Probation staff, can receive an alert by email or SMS notifying them of every business event (bail for example) in a particular case – or be notified of a particular type of business event across the Court.

C) Receiving Pre-Sentence Report Requests Currently, Probation staff will need to wait in the Court for a PSR request to be made. • Portal users, or through them other Probation staff, can receive alerts when a PSR has been requested via SMS and then make their way to the Court to get the details of the request, this will be especially useful for Fast Delivery PSRs which need to be completed on the day. If feasible, the XHIBIT release planned for September 2005, will enable users to receive fully populated PSR requests through XHIBIT (currently these requests do not include a due date see Section 6 below).

D) Receiving Results from Crown Court. Currently Probation staff either have to be present at Court to receive paper results often hand-written and/or sent by post. • Portal Users, or through them other Probation staff, can receive an alert by email or SMS notifying them of each result (Community Order for example) and use the Portal to retrieve the documents electronically. When a hospital order with restriction order is made the victim contact unit in each Area must offer contact to the victim (National Standard GS11). Portal users will be able to ask for alerts to be sent when these orders are made.

E) Other Benefits • • Probation staff can receive alerts through the Portal when bail conditions are ordered. Probation staff in Court can use the instant messaging facility within XHIBIT to receive and send messages to Court staff.


The HM Court Service public web site provides Daily Court Status for each Court. This mirrors information presented 'airport style' on the public display board in the Court House. The Court Service, web site, along with other '' sites, will be accessible from any STEPS desktop following introduction of Internet access over the next few months. The web site address is: More generally, there are time savings to be made through greater use of email and a reduced reliance on fax. The July release of the Portal allows documents to be attached to alert messages using the “Creating Document Rule Notifications” function (select Alerts tab/ Document Rules tab/ Create New Rule button). Areas should consider introducing team managed shared email accounts for specific business flows. In advance of NPS gaining Government Secure Intranet (GSI) accreditation Probation staff should not email information considered to be classified ‘Restricted’ or above. Documents currently available from the Portal are not classified by DCA as ‘Restricted.’ If staff are unsure about a document’s classification, they should contact the originator.

4.3 How Areas exploit XHIBIT and the Portal and adopt these suggested changes in business process is a matter for local discussion. However, Areas should note that each Crown Court will stop paper/ manual distribution of certain documents when the system is operational. By implementing the above changes Areas may expect to achieve significant efficiency savings. 5. Criminal Justice Act 2003 5.1 Due to the late stage at which decisions were made on the implementation of the new Criminal Justice Act sentences, it was not possible to update XHIBIT to reflect these new sentences straight away. The new Community Order was added to XHIBIT on 11th July. The Suspended Sentence Order and the amended Imprisonment and Young Offenders Institution Orders (including provision for dangerous offenders) will be included within XHIBIT Release 8.0 in September 2005. 5.2 Before XHIBIT is updated, any sentences not available on XHIBIT will be sent out in paper form. 6. Pre-Sentence Report Alerts 6.1 PSR requests, which come through on XHIBIT currently have no ‘due-date’ field. This diminishes the potential benefits of the system in terms of PSR requests as Probation staff will need to be present in the Court or obtain details from the Clerk. CJIT and the XHIBIT team are aware of this issue and are trying to resolve it by September 2005. 7. Mobile Phone Guidance 7.1 One of the Portal's primary functions is to automatically alert Probation staff, via their mobile phones, of Court decisions such as PSR requests or Community Orders (Portal users may subscribe up to two mobile phone numbers to receive SMS text alerts). Court-based Probation staff have a legitimate operational need to use silent


mobile phones in Court to alert them of the need to be in another Courtroom or elsewhere. Lord Justice Thomas, Senior Presiding Judge, Royal Courts of Justice, has agreed that Probation staff will be able to use their mobile phones in all Crown Courts and has written to Resident Judges outlining the position. Use of mobile phones is subject to the following guidelines which must be adhered to at all times or the Probation Service risks losing this privilege: Guidance for the use of mobile phones by Court based staff i. Probation staff must make themselves known to the Usher or Court Clerk as soon as is practicable when entering the Court, and inform the Usher or Court Clerk that their phone will be switched on for the purpose of receiving text message alerts. They must produce an official Probation Service I.D. ii. Probation staff must wear clear identification at all times when in the Courtroom. iii. Probation staff can receive and read text messages in Court, however Probation staff are not allowed to write any messages. iv. All mobiles must be on silent or silent vibrate mode whilst in the Courtroom. • • If on silent mode, the phone should be placed on the ledge or desk in front of the Probation officer. If on vibrate mode, the phone should be kept in the Probation officer's pocket.

v. Probation staff must switch off their mobile phone when giving evidence or reporting orally to the Court. 8. Benefit Measurement 8.2 Although the Probation Service is not committed to realising any cashable benefits from the project, it is important that the impact of XHIBIT and the Portal is measured. Identifying and measuring benefits will allow us to gauge how effective the system is and what Probation Areas are making of it. This will also help inform decisions on future IT projects in this area. 8.3 To this end, NOMS are developing a Benefits Realisation Strategy which will look at the benefits of this project and any other future projects and attempt to measure and quantify them with as little disruption as possible caused to local Areas. NOMS will define and implement an integrated benefits and efficiency target measurement regime at a national level to minimise the impact on Probation Areas. Where possible, existing data collection mechanisms will be used which may be supplemented by regular sampling/surveys. For XHIBIT and the Portal the benefits outlined in Section 4 above will be assessed through sampling exploitation of the systems in a limited number of Probation Areas. The selected Areas will be notified shortly.