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Judicial Council Outlines Technology Needs in Tactical Plan

Judicial Council issues tactical plan and advice: Do your research.

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The Judicial Council of California is entering the final year of both its strategic and tactical plans.

The Council is constitutionally responsible for making policy and enforcing the impartial administration of justice by the state’s judicial branch.

To that end, the council creates a strategic plan that can encompass several years at a time, with the most recent one encompassing 2014-2018.

In October 2014, the council’s Technology Governance and Funding Model recommended the creation of a two-year tactical plan. The council’s tactical plan breaks down the goals, of which there are currently four, found in the strategic plan.

“A technology vision guides the branch to where it needs to be to promote consistency statewide while providing local court innovation to best meet the needs of California citizens,” the tactical plan reads.

The current goals, from the 2014-2018 strategic plan, are:

  • Promote the digital court, first through its foundation, then building access, services and partnerships
  • Optimizing branch resources
  • Optimizing infrastructure
  • Promoting rule and legislative changes
The tactical plan lays out how each goal can be reached in a prioritized list of objectives and then addresses them with specific initiatives that are tracked from plan to plan.

For example, the 2017-2018 tactical plan includes an initiative to create a case management system and to expand a document management system. It also lists creating master agreements and licensing agreements for hardware and software to optimize branch resources.

Since the Judicial Council can only offer guidance, each court is free to fulfill these initiatives in a way that fits its specific needs. This means several courts are still looking for systems to fit their needs.

Those systems include:

  • E-filing deployment
  • Standardized CMS and data exchange interfaces
  • Jury management technology
  • California Courts Protective Order database
  • Open source/free software application sharing
  • Establishing or expanding local and wide area networks
  • Establishing a court disaster recovery framework
  • Establishing a security policy framework
The tactical plan also includes a section that lists what will be funded and offers options for funding sources, along with a sample timeline of when courts will seek funds for each program. Some money could come from the council's Innovation Fund of $25 million.

For those vendors hoping to do business with the courts, Judicial Council CIO Robert Oyung and Clerk/Administrator Andrea Wallin-Rohmann both recommend doing research first.

"You've educated yourself on what's happening in the organization. You're familiar with the strategic plan and coming in with solutions, not looking for a problem," Wallin-Rohmann said.

Oyung said the council is looking for specific things to meet specific needs.

"We are looking for breadth; we are looking for best of breed," Oyung said. "The impression I get is you're trying to be good at everything, but you're not really good at anything."

Kayla Nick-Kearney was a staff writer for Techwire from March 2017 through January 2019.