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Intelligence Briefing & Tasking

After nominating Norfolk Constabulary for the prestigious “Public Sector Project of the Year” category, enCircle were delighted to hear they reached the final short list. This re-enforces the methodology that enCircle use to create a low-cost process, and service orientated technical solution, that closely supports the business way of working, rather than forcing the business to change it’s very nature.

Norfolk Constabulary radically changed how they disseminate intelligence information to their 2000 officers in various operational and geographical teams. The tasking & management process was also improved, enabling officers to focus on the tasks and intelligence information relevant to them.

This was achieved by using an innovative business process management system called "enAct". Working in close partnership with the force Modernisation Programme and Operation QUEST, the entire system was implemented by enCircle on time and within budget.

Return on Investment

Officers are now only shown the intelligence information and tasks relevant to their operational role, and geographical location. Senior officers are able to more effectively task their resources in order to meet the strategic objectives of the force.

During the first month of the system being live, the force experienced the following returns on their investment:- 
    • Positive outcomes from all tasks increased by 686%
    • Positive outcomes from Strategic Priorities increased from 23% to 64%.
More effective tasking has resulted in the Safer Neighbourhood Teams being more productive when feeding back vital intelligence to the force as a whole.The following benefits are expected as a result of the introduction of the new system and improvements in the BAT process:-
  • Deliver relevant briefing and tasking products to units/officers based on their need to know and their ability to action the tasks set. 
  • Enhance the security and audit capability of the briefing and tasking products, by governing and recording access to information.
  • Support effective self briefing and allow supervisors to deliver briefing and tasking, and record the assignment of related tasks.
  • Enabling officers and supervisors to simultaneously update tasks and record outcomes against a matrix of possible outcomes and through the use of free text.
  • Support the collection of shift handover and debriefing information that can be used to inform oncoming shifts.
  • Provide a fully searchable system that enables management information reports to be generated to improve performance monitoring, support effective weeding of briefing and tasking products, identify and improve positive outcomes.

Innovation

The project exploited BPEL and SOA technology, alongside BPM methodologies, to customise and implement an open source application within a very short timeframe. By using Web 2.0 technology, the project also focused on enhancing the end user experience.

The concept of ‘Tagging’ was introduced, so Briefing and Tasking officers could ‘tag’ their information with Role and Geographical labels. Instead of officers looking at all the intelligence information for their entire District, and manually filtering the relevant information, they simply select their Role and Geographical Area, meaning they see only relevant information.

Online Flash training videos were published to aid officers first use of the system. Along with a comprehensive communications plan, officers were not abstracted from daily duties to attend training courses for the new system.

The self briefing screens were designed to specifically work with the new interactive whiteboard technology being used by the force. Specific functionality was included to improved the end user experience when using an interactive whiteboard.

Management

Not only was the project delivered within budget, but also completed one week earlier than originally required. This allowed a ‘soft implementation’ approach to be taken, spreading the business impact over a number of days.

Key management principles such as weekly design and test workshops with key users (Using a combined JAD and RAD methodology), and an iterative approach to design and development of applications, will be followed in future projects and phases.

Along with the original project objectives being achieved, the system is configurable by super users and, as a result, other benefits were realised during the late stages of User Acceptance Testing, such as the tracking of “ID Sought” requests (Where an officer would like an ID of an individual in a picture).

Excellence

The project has demonstrated that delivering intelligence information and effective tasking of officers requires a technical solution to support the changes in business behaviour, as opposed to a technical solution defining the working practices.

By codifying the tasking process in BPEL, the force is now able to closely monitor and manage the returns from officers and gain visibility of the KPIs that lead to excellence. Implementing objective analysis and policy enforcement through the use of a configurable business process management system, means officers are now assigned high quality tasks that follow the SMART principles (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-related).

The enAct Process Management system is a clustered BPEL engine framework that allows thousands of concurrent processes to be executed simultaneously. This allows processes to be extended and more added as time goes on. This can also be done in house, by Super Users, without the need for expensive consultants to make the changes.

Business Intelligence and performance monitoring are now being deployed using the open source Pentaho BI platform. This delivers reporting cubes from the intelligence data within enAct and provides managers with powerful data-mining and dashboard functionality.

Summary of Success

Norfolk Constabulary contracted enCircle Solutions Ltd. to deliver a cost-effective business process based solution to support planned changes in their Intelligence briefing & tasking operations. This was intended to make the force more effective in the way they distributed intelligence information to officers, and how they tasked them.

Within 5 weeks, a system was undergoing final User Acceptance Testing and was implemented a week early, only 6 weeks from the project start date.

The system and all associated supplier costs were kept low though a combination of open source software and the development methodology being used by enCircle to deliver the solution.

A 45% increase in positive outcomes from tasks relating to strategic priorities was seen, meaning officers were not only being asked to do more in their local neighbourhoods to reassure people and prevent crime, but were actually exceeding these demands. Officers are more effectively feeding information back to intelligence officers, meaning adherence to the National Intelligence Model is now auditable.

The returns on this investment have not been calculated in a monetary sense, but the key figures speak for themselves. 
Members of the public have better informed and more effectively tasked officers working in their neighbourhoods, feeding their views and key messages back into the force.