BC Provincial Court Decisions data is now available online in dashboard displays as part of a new open data project by the regional government. How does this project suggest a city should monitor its legal systems and measure citizen access to justice, safety, and security? Is this project showing communities how to use open data or is it raising more questions that it answers…
French Dashboard Software Service BIME Analytics recently worked with Canada’s British Columbia government on improving open data access to BC provincial court decisions justice data through dashboard displays.
With a three-week deadline to create the dashboards, the BIME Analytics team was able to create a series of dashboard visualizations to monitor the BC region’s justice system.
“The dashboards present interactive data visualizations displaying information geographically and broken down into easily accessible, user-friendly graphs and pie charts. Users are able to drill-down and search statistics from individual regions or courthouses. Statistics include the number of new court cases, months to case conclusion, court hours and scheduled court appearances for the three levels of court in BC,” explains BIME’s website.
The open data initiative is part of a policy framework documented in British Columbia’s Green Paper Modernizing the British Columbia Justice System. That document identified several key barriers to using data for problem solving in the justice system, most notably “underdeveloped systems thinking”.
The Paper proposes a possible solution as:
“The establishment of performance metrics, and the sharing of targets and progress across the system, with government, and with citizens, would become central to system policy and practice.”
The BC Justice Dashboards could well be the start of such a system of performance metrics, but how useful is the data displayed and how can civil rights groups use the dashboards to monitor the performance of their justice system? One key metric not explored in the dashboard is the state’s operational budget for the department that oversees justice, the Attorney General. Around the time the dashboards were being launched, the British Columbia Public Interest Advocacy Centre sent an open letter to the Government questioning statements that suggested funding increases to justice budgets, when in fact, the opposite was the case.
Where does this justice data fit into a societal concept map connecting citizen rights, safety, security and equity? What models best describe how a justice system should serve a society and how well do the BC Dashboards represent such a model?
Having only been launched in March this year, site visitor statistics are limited, but SEMRUsh reports that around 18 unique visitors review the open data webpages daily. Alexa data suggests they read 2.6 pages each visit.
Check back soon for analysis and views by leading experts on the BC Provincial Court Decisions open data project and how civil rights groups can use this type of data in monitoring a city’s justice system.