Saturday, July 1, 2017

Event Time

In the CCMS series we wrote about events and tasks.  In that article, we mentioned event weights that reflects the amount of work that was expended on that event.  But there is another way that we can augment the event record.  We explain.


Time is a judiciary's most precious resource.  This is why so much effort is expended on calendaring and scheduling.  But what if we recorded not only the amount of time a hearing or chambers conference consumed but also the start time as part of the case event record in the case register?

Let’s begin with capturing the start time.  This can be automatically captured if your court has a digital recording system.  These systems have the date and time automatically recorded when the judge or clerk selects the start of the event in the courtroom.  If this information is downloaded and saved with the event, then the court can, in turn, begin to better understand wait time for the event participants.  And as other industries such as health care and transportation understand, wait time is a key measure for understanding customer (in their case) satisfaction.

We can assume wait time from the calendar scheduled time such as the 9:00 AM “cattle call”.  This is the easiest.  Or we can have case participants “check-in” when they arrive.

The second type of measure is the amount of time that an event consumes.  This can be correlated to the type of event and other factors such as number and type of participants, etc.  Obviously, over time as a history of the time amount measure is captured it can be used to influence two things.   It can then be used to influence the calendaring template for the number of events allowed for a time block.  And it can also affect the amount of time projected for that time block. 

For example, two similar charge hearings.  Same criminal charges but one case has three defendants all with counsel and the other has one defendant pro se.  One would think that the three-defendant case would likely take a longer time to complete.  But with all three being represented by counsel the process is streamlined by their presence. So, having both a time and participant history allows the possibility of improved projection.

And last, the other advantage of capturing time is that one can then report on the amount of time that the court is using to complete their caseload.  This, in turn, adds detail to case counts.

So, when one is working on your CCMS, it is recommended that time capture should be included in your design considerations.

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