Northern Ireland Legal Services Commission
NILSC successfully improves legal aid applications with Toplevel workflow software
Following a successful pilot programme in September 2005, the Northern Ireland Legal Service Commission is to roll out an extensive programme of Toplevel OfficeForms and OfficeProcess to over 700 solicitors and barristers across the province.
The pilot involves a multi-page form devised and set up with Toplevel using a hosted service.
A sample of solicitors used the form, REP5, to apply for payments from the Commission to cover advice and assistance they offered free to clients.
Following the pilot’s success, the Commission has invested in the Toplevel software to improve and make savings in its business process model. A project team is now using Toplevel OfficeProcess to set up REP5 on their own server. Eventually, the Commission aims to make around 50 e-forms available online.
The Commission’s Russell Batten says: “Toplevel OfficeForms are far quicker to complete and process than our old paper-based system. Solicitors only need a standard browser, such as Internet Explorer, to visit the NILSC website and access the forms.”
"Built-in checks ensure accuracy, illegible handwriting is no longer a problem and, if there is an issue, we can return the form back to the solicitor, immediately. The e-forms can be stored and recalled instantly, and we intend to use the forms as a basis for auditing to help improve the quality of the service delivered by solicitors. Once all the forms are moved onto our server, we plan to rationalise the number of pages to improve efficiency and make forms easier to complete."
As the economic benefits emerge immediately and improve the process of legal aid applications, the Commission is planning to redirect resources into field activities in line with government directives to move more people into front line positions.
Eileen Maxwell, Head of IT at the Commission comments: “Toplevel has excellent workflow capabilities - it’s very easy to move forms around, both inside and outside the Commission. We were also impressed with the software’s scalability and ability to communicate with other applications, such as Oracle.”
Jane Roberts, Sales Director, Toplevel comments: “We are pleased to have helped the Commission develop their electronic form strategy which we are confident will enhance their effectiveness as regulators and improve the levels of service provided to solicitors in Northern Ireland.”