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“Cogworx has played an integral part in the HMCTS ‘Reply to a jury summons’ service journey, having been with us from the very beginning and their knowledge and experience in delivering digital services has been invaluable. Working as part of the wider HMCTS project Team through every phase of the project from Discovery, GDS assessments and beyond they have become a trusted partner.”

Janet Healey

Principal Product Manager, HMCTS

HMCTS has worked on a number of projects with Cogworx. They have consistently delivered an essential customer-focused perspective to the delivery and operation of change programmes

Human-centred design

All good design starts with good people. Whether we're exploring a problem space, testing solutions or supporting a live service, our thinking centres around the human need.

HMCTS has worked on a number of projects with Cogworx. They have consistently delivered an essential customer-focused perspective to the delivery and operation of change programmes

Human-centred design

All good design starts with good people. Whether we're exploring a problem space, testing solutions or supporting a live service, our thinking centres around the human need.

Say Hello.

The context

Every year, approx. 355,000 people are summoned to serve on a jury at a Crown Court in England or Wales. Each person is entitled to claim their expenses and their loss of earnings from the court.

 

HMCTS had a hypothesis that this entirely paper-based service would benefit from being digitised; that we would create user, service and business benefits from creating a digital service allowing users to submit their claims online.

 

This discovery was undertaken by the same service team who support the ‘Reply to a jury summons’ service, which is now in Live. As part of the ongoing commitment to improve and develop the service, we revisited the roadmap.

 

 

Back in discovery, the team identified that expenses incurred and loss of earnings during jury service was a significant challenge for jurors and therefore it made sense that this be the next logical area of improvement to address.

Analogue service design

To ensure a smooth service for jurors, some of the courts had developed some efficient analogue service design processes that were working well.

The hypothesis

The service team undertook the discovery with three key hypotheses to test:

 

Submitting expenses is the next logical stage of the juror user journey. Creating a way in which jurors can do this online whilst serving will bring value.

 

Introducing contextual guidance, form validation and guided submissions will reduce the error rate and, therefore, the number of rejected submissions resulting in less administration for the courts.

 

There are differing processes for submitting expenses and LoE claims amongst the courts. Creating a unified online service will create an opportunity to align these into one process.

 

The user base is significant (approx. 200,000 transactions per year) and there are members of staff at almost every court processing the claims. Court staff use a heritage system to process the claims but there is currently no digital service for jurors to use.

Letting the users speak for themselves

Some of the team took to the road, visiting courts across England and Wales. We visited small courts, satellite courts (those that use the staff and systems of bigger courts for processing) as well as larger courts that often have longer trials.

 

The juror lounges are a researcher's dream! Genuine users, at the point of service use, who are bored whilst they wait to be called back to court and (mostly) willing to chat to you for as long as you need.

 

In the lounges, we were able to:

  • Interview individual users about how they are collating, tracking and submitting their expenses claims, the challenges they have with the current, paper-based system and their thoughts about an online service and the benefits that may bring

  • Survey jurors about their appetite to use an online service

  • Identify users with access needs and discuss the benefits or challenges that an online service would bring

 

The service designer, user researcher and business analyst also spent time with processing officers, who check, verify, approve and then pay claims for expenses or loss of earnings.

 

We conducted interviews about how the process works, which was slightly different from court to court. We shadowed officers as claim forms came through, seeing how they swivel-chaired between systems (paper and digital) whilst taking questions from jurors or Jury Managers about what could be claimed.

 

In each court, we walked through the service, using the paperwork, systems and processes that each court had in place. Where possible, we tried to do this at the same time as the jurors who were doing it for the first time so we could witness how easily the process was understood.

Tracking claims and payments

From paper processes, claims eventually made their way to spreadsheets before being inputted into HMCTS systems.

So, what did we find?

One objective of a discovery is to ensure that there is a valid problem to be solved, user needs to be answered and a business requirement to be satisfied. Comfortingly, this process worked as we discovered that our hypotheses were not proven, there was no user need and an online expenses & loss of earnings service would, in fact, risk business inefficiencies.

 

Research found that jurors are time-rich whilst they are at court and actively looking for things to do. Completing a paper form each day for their expenses is simple, quick to understand and not providing any significant challenges. By asking jurors to stop stapling a receipt to a form but instead use mobile technology to scan receipts, upload them to a digital form and submit proved more off putting and started introducing digital barriers. Introducing an online service that may not achieve significant take-up risked bringing business inefficiencies by splitting submission into two channels.

 

However, discovery did surface that the biggest challenge courts and users had was understanding what can be claimed from the courts in the first place. Qualitative and quantitative research found that users did little fact-finding before they came to court, assumed they could claim all their losses and relied on court staff to help them understand the process.

 

This resulted in jurors being significantly out of pocket but not always knowing that before they came to court, staff having to spend significant time with jurors to help them understand what they can claim, and helping them with the forms.

 

Going forward into alpha, therefore, the service team recommended we instead focus on creating a tool and content to help jurors calculate what they can claim, improve the printed guidance and redesign the offline forms to become more intuitive to use and include contextual guidance.

 

The recommendations were accepted by HMCTS senior stakeholders and taken forward into alpha.

Services

Service Design

Interaction Design

Content Design

User Research

Sectors

Government

Judicial services

Client

HM Courts & Tribunals Service

Partners

CGI

Simplifying the juror financial reimbursement process

Understanding how to improve financial transactions within jury service

The Challenge

Conduct a Discovery to understand whether there is a user need or a business benefit to developing a digital service enabling jurors to submit their expenses & loss of earnings claims digitally, replacing the existing paper-based service.

The Outcome

Discovery surfaced that there was no user need or business benefit to developing this service. However, the team did unearth a related but different user need involving jurors being able to confidently calculate their financial position as a result of doing jury service. This user need was addressed through the design & development of a calculator to sit on gov.uk.