London – November 2017 – Representing the largest county in the UK, Invicta Law, a new ABS established from Kent County Council’s former in-house legal team, is committed to delivering high-quality services to its national portfolio of clients. A number of these services relate to the wellbeing of children, including safeguarding welfare.
In advance of hearings involving child protection matters, legal teams must prepare the relevant documentation and circulate it to the parties concerned, such as magistrates, judges and lawyers. These ‘court bundles’ can include in excess of 350 A4 pages of highly confidential information, including personal details of the child involved, visual evidence, witness statements and expert reports. Historically, presenting them in a lever arch folder, Invicta Law staff were tasked with printing, manually collating and securely delivering these documents. Changes made to individual documents within these bundles during the case would often result in the bundle needing to be reproduced and redistributed in its entirety. Once cases have ended, staff must then securely archive one complete copy of each bundle and ensure all others are destroyed.
“UK Government is committed to bringing digital transformation to the justice community, leading to an increased number of processes and services being driven online,” explains Lucy George, Solicitor for the Child Protection Team at Invicta Law. “Sharing physical court bundles has been identified as costly, inefficient and potentially insecure. In fact, HM Courts and Tribunal Services (HMCTS) has demonstrated that local authorities can save on average £1,282.65 and 38.3 man hours per bundle – which adds up to £256,530 and 8,019 hours over a 12-month period. As a result, we took the proactive step to find a secure electronic mechanism for delivering this data to relevant parties.”
Digital transformation that supports existing practices
“One of our primary concerns was to continue to protect the data of the vulnerable children we represent, so we knew our chosen solution needed to be built with security in mind,” continues George. “We also needed to ensure ‘business as usual’ not only for our colleagues creating the bundles, but also the magistrates, external solicitors and other parties that also need access to these documents. The chosen solution therefore needed to either maintain or improve current work practices.
“We selected Egress Switch Secure Workspace for this purpose as it offers comprehensive levels of encryption, control and auditing to ensure that sensitive data is always protected. In addition, functionality such as expiring users’ access to individual documents integrates with how we have traditionally handled and managed these documents.”
Within Switch Secure Workspace users are able to create a secure zone for each individual court case, with the PDF bundle uploaded into this encrypted environment. Users are then given permission to access zones and documents relevant to them, with controls such as read-only access or download restriction preventing a data breach caused by unauthorised access or paper copies being lost or stolen. Whenever changes are made to the bundle during the court process, a new PDF version can be easily uploaded to the zone and users immediately notified via email.
Commenting on this, Egress UK Sales Director Kelly McCann stated: “We are proud to be working with Invicta Law to help them to electronically deliver e-bundles to family courts. HMCTS has shown that local authorities can make significant cost and efficiency savings by digitising court bundles – however, given the sensitivity of the material involved, it is crucial that encrypting and controlling this data is a primary objective for law firms and in-house teams looking for an e-bundle solution. We therefore see it as a key priority to help our customers achieve these costs and efficiency benefits, whilst also ensuring they are able to protect some of the country’s most vulnerable children from harm.”
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About Invicta Law Ltd
Invicta Law is a wholly owned subsidiary of Kent County Council and as such, all surplus profits are returned to the authority as dividend payments which can be used to support the delivery of the authority’s front-line services. Invicta Law is a registered trade mark and trading name of Invicta Law Limited, a private limited company registered in England & Wales No. 10079679. Authorised and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority registration number 631355.