8 reasons why Pathways is the best Youth Justice system

Back in 2017, we (operating as i2N before our acquisition by NPS in the summer of 2018) were tasked to create a new Youth Justice Case Management System (CMS) that would be used by:

  • the Youth Secure Estate (16 establishments)
  • the Youth Custody Service Placements team
  • 150 Youth Offending Teams (YOTs)
  • the Information/Analysis Teams at the Youth Justice Board.

This was to help provide a means for safe and consistent data exchange across the Youth Justice system, something that had not previously been possible, as well as to enable the rollout of a unified assessment framework (AssetPlus).

The knowledge and experience we took from this project were significant. It gave us the credibility and insight we needed to start the development of the best Youth Justice CMS available on the market.

Introducing Pathways: Expert-led youth offender case management

Working alongside previous and current colleagues from YOTs, we have created Pathways – a new CMS designed from the ground up to bring precise and relevant functionality to current Youth Justice workers.

With Pathways, you can expect to see incredible benefits such as:

  • an almost fool-proof, intuitive and modern user interface that’s easy to use for all levels of IT competency
  • enhanced cross-case working with  improved information sharing between teams across the Youth Justice sector 
  • significant reductions in effort from users needing to perform the same functions (such as recording court referrals, updating hearings & inputting data into AssetPlus)
  • the elimination of unnecessary processes, such as double-keying
  • a vast improvement in performance when compared against other CMS solutions
  • cloud-hosting that allows updates to be installed ‘behind the scenes’ and hassle-free
  • the ability to create, send & receive  AssetPlus assessments 
  • easy integration with other products
  • great user-support via the Service Desk.

Throughout its development and testing, Pathways has been regarded with acclaim from testers and industry experts. We know that the core of its success is down to the Agile approach we took in developing this justice software. 

8 reasons for Pathways’ success

This short video with Marco Fiorentino – Head of Agile Delivery – explains more around Pathways and the very successful approach we took to creating software that meets the specific needs of the Youth Justice industry.

With Pathways, success was largely down to eight factors.

[1] A new start

Copying traditional, out of date YOT CMS models was not an option. We did not want to risk replicating features or processes that were clunky and frustrating for the user. Instead, we looked at creating an entirely new CMS from scratch – employing our Agile framework to guide development. 

It was essential that the CMS would not contain overly complex features and focus on a platform that was useful, relevant and easy to use.

[2] Understanding the business

We sat down with subject matter experts across the Criminal Justice sector and ran discovery sessions that would give us an invaluable insight into the sector and why we are developing this software. This involved visiting YOT sector experts including heads of service, YOT officers, information managers and administrators. We also had ex-YOT staff working directly within our software design team. This allowed us to truly understand a user’s perspective and journey, and create software that would best serve them.

[3] Structured analysis

During interactive workshops with our team, Youth Justice experts and users, we looked at the mapping of operational practices. This gave us insight into future processes and how we could model and refine them to work more effectively.

[4] User-led requirements

We also, during these interactive workshops with users, listed out the requirements our customers would need. This was done alongside practice (business) owners – who agreed on them – and then validated by product owners, before being scripted into requirements expressed in natural language.

[5] Collaborative design

The collaborative nature of this project continued on by expressing all testing material and wireframes in a natural language (not complicated code or tech-language) which allowed users to properly envisage the platform and each process. They could then feedback to help refine how each feature would be realised.

[6] A principled and multi-skilled delivery team

Because the team understood the purpose and importance that the Youth Justice Application Framework plays to its end-users and those they serve, they approached this project with commendable professionalism. 

The output was high-quality because of the team’s commitment to delivering a product that benefits its users and (perhaps more importantly) those requiring the assistance of YOTs and Youth Justice workers. Pathways, as the outcome,  is the very best product we could deliver as a direct result. 

[7] Stakeholder management

Throughout this process, we have built and maintained strong relationships with key stakeholders across the Youth Justice sector because of a mutual understanding of the importance of what we are delivering. Through these relationships, we can properly define exactly what is required, and what continues to be required by each service. 

[8] Data management

Reporting features – feeding into comprehensive data models – allow us to continue to monitor and adapt our software and service continually. This means that areas which require improvement can be picked up by our team, innovated and rolled out to the huge benefit of end-users efficiently. 

Likewise, from these reports, we can offer insight to Youth Justice information teams and key stakeholders across the entire Youth Offending Team landscape 

Our Agile approach

In keeping with the spirit of the Agile, we have a strong commitment to self-evaluation and continuous improvement. By combining the knowledge and experience we have gained through previous Youth Justice projects and other SaaS products we have developed, we have a framework that sets out a blueprint for successful Agile delivery. 

The three key principles of our Agile framework are:

  • Understanding the context: appreciating the complexities and requirements of our customers and the often demanding environments in which they work.
  • Agile in content, fixed in process: a clear, defined and consistent development process deployed to effectively support the inevitably needed flex in scope and design of the product.
  • Collaboration throughout: continuous improvement by listening to customers at every single stage of the software’s development (they are the experts and know what is needed or what is too complex/not working from alternative CMS offerings).

These framework principles helped establish the process that led to the creation of a very successful, market-changing CMS platform for Youth Justice workers. 

Learn more

We are disrupting the Youth Justice space with Pathways, the only Youth Management case management software that has been built from the ground up by experts, for experts. This single-service solution utilises the expertise of past and current workers in this sector to deliver a solution that will dramatically help to improve the service these workers provide for the vulnerable people they work with.

If you wish to discuss Pathways and what it can offer, you can contact the team here.