Serbia Justice Functional Review

Internal Performance Assessment > ICT Management

c. Effectiveness of Systems for Management Purposes

  1. Weaknesses in data collection and analysis through the judiciary’s case management systems prevent it from assessing the effectiveness of processes and organizational structures, and from optimizing the use of resources. Courts need to capture more than individual case information. To be effective, courts need meaningful, accurate, and timely statistics. There is no overall software ‘umbrella’ that provides sector-wide statistical information, which impairs evidence-based decision-making.
  2. Collating statistical data requires substantial effort and leads to inconsistent data collection by various entities (the SCC, the HJC, the RPPO, the SPC and the MOJ). For example, statistical reports are produced via Basic and Higher Courts’ AVP application but are not uploaded electronically to a central database site.907 Instead, statisticians in the SCC concatenate records received from the courts attached to e-mails to create a master report.
  3. Only a seasoned, computer-savvy and determined Court President, statistician, or analyst could overcome the various obstacles to locate the evidence they need to inform analysis and decision-making.
    In addition, because there is an inadequate number of mandatory data fields, inadequate field validation908 and no ‘lock down’ of statistics once submitted, data submitted to the SCC from AVP are inconsistent, may be incorrect, 909 and can be changed by courts after submission. Further, there is little training in proper data entry, and there are no periodic audits of the quality and consistency of the data entered. As a result, the data submitted to the SCC contain a number of missing or changed entries which can render certain reports meaningless.
  4. BPMIS has been developed as a standalone application designed as a ‘dashboard’ for examining court performance and resource use in a single place. 910 However, courts enter data manually into BPMIS rather than downloading it from the case management system (the data are submitted electronically through a single platform). This creates opportunities for human error in data entry and is time-consuming.
  5. Unreliable and incomparable data impact daily operations and impedes evidence-based management and planning. The data environment will be increasingly unmanageable through the Chapter 23 process. Data collection and verification was a particular problem during the Functional Review.911 The data effort indicates that this kind of analysis is not easy in the Serbian system – and has likely not been conducted since the JPEIR 2011. As the Serbian judiciary embarks upon the Chapter 23 process, this kind of analysis will be increasingly necessary to inform decision-making, focus reforms, and satisfy various EC requests.
  6. The organization of case types and classification of case information in AVP impede a meaningful statistical data analysis. For example, there are currently 70 separate case types and in an effort to revise the book of rules (see Management section); the MOJ is considering adding more. Further, the AVP classifies criminal cases by the most severe offense for which a defendant is accused and by only one defendant, so other charges and defendants are masked. These shortcomings impede analysis of criminal case processing.
  7. If significant improvements to statistical reporting are not made in the short term, the system will likely be inundated with requests that it will struggle to meet, possibly delaying the Chapter23 process.
    Some of the flaws in AVP reporting have been rectified in SAPS. For instance, after generating a quarterly or annual report, a reporting period becomes ‘locked’ in SAPS so that no subsequent modifications (e.g. back-dated changes) are possible unless specifically authorized by a system administrator and supported by written documentation.912 However, compared to the reports produced by AVP, SAPS statistics comprise a much narrower set of available reports.
  8. The statistical package for SAPO has not been implemented and statistics for prosecutors are gathered in Microsoft Excel. Users reported to the Functional Review team that they are required to maintain duplicate manual processes because the system does not fully meet their needs, and they are not benefitting from the potential management information the system could produce.