Public Administration and Decision-Aiding Software: Improving Procedure and Substance

Public Administration and Decision-Aiding Software: Improving Procedure and Substance

Public Administration and Decision-Aiding Software: Improving Procedure and Substance

Public Administration and Decision-Aiding Software: Improving Procedure and Substance

Synopsis

This contributed volume offers a summary of the latest ideas and applications concerning decision-making software, as applied to administrative decision-making and public policy-making. Nagel defines the essence of decision-aiding software to be software that is designed to enable users to "process a set of (1) goals to be achieved, (2) alternatives available for achieving them, and (3) relations between goals and alternatives in order to choose the best alternative, combination, allocation, or predictive decision-rule."

Excerpt

Robert G. Donaldson

Development of case tracking system

In the late 1970s at a Council of Europe colloquy at the Hague, the then head of our department, the former crown agent, saw a computer system that he felt would greatly benefit the running of his Procurator Fiscal offices in Scotland. Further examination, study, and research confirmed this but it was not until 1983, following a competitive procurement exercise lasting over a year, that the actual purchase of computer hardware and application software for the first stage of implementation of the strategy was completed. the Glasgow Procurator Fiscal's Office, which was selected, serves one of the busiest courts in Europe and is the largest Procurator Fiscal Office in Scotland, handling in excess of 75,000 cases a year covering virtually the complete range of types of crime under Scots law. the system itself was a Systime minicomputer (DEC based) with 40 visual display units and 6 small printers spread throughout 5 separate locations in central Glasgow linked by telephone lines. the application software is Promis. At this point it is perhaps worth describing in more detail the main functions and facilities of the system.

Information is recorded on receipt of information from the reporting agency, normally the Police. At every stage of the case the computer records are updated to reflect its current state and as a result of this action, standard court documentation can be produced--for example: (1) court sheets, the documents used in court to call the case and by the clerk of court to record the court's findings and orders; and (2) witness citations, the documents issued some weeks (normally six) prior to the trial to the witnesses involved in a case instructing them to attend to give evidence at the trial and providing the appropriate date, time, and place.

At the initial case set up, the system also indicates previous history: whether the accused person who is the subject of the new report is already on file, whether . . .

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