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News

Confidential communications network for Youth Justice Board

AEP Networks : 03 March, 2009  (Application Story)
Data sharing across network of legal practitioners in the UK achieved using secure networking from AEP Networks
The Youth Justice Board for England and Wales (YJB) has completed an 18-month project to wire up youth justice and provide a secure communications network between its 30,000 practitioners operating from more than 200 sites across England and Wales. The resulting network allows youth justice practitioners to share relevant data as and when required in order to make better informed decisions regarding action to be taken. The network sees secure crypto boxes (AEP Net) implemented at all locations, linked to a hub ensuring restricted level security for communications between connected individuals and organisations. It replaces a largely manual set of processes that relied heavily on fax transmissions and hand delivery of files.

Commenting on the new network, Mike Mackay, CIO of the YJB, says, "It's hard to achieve consistency when you are not dealing with real time data. Eighteen months ago youth justice used a mix of fax and physical communications which meant that risk data was not always available where it was needed. Now, with the network operating, the correct information can be where it needs to be to make sure that decisions on young offenders are appropriate and timely. Now we have established a secure network with all the data flowing through our hub which connects to the Government Secure Intranet (GSi). We have also built a management information system that means that we can look at trends and national statistics in more detail. This is incredibly valuable to us today and moving forward."

The aim of the network is to assist in achieving the right decisions at every stage of the youth offender's journey through the system. The network sits outside the GSi network, but inter-operates with it, providing secure communications to all parties involved in youth justice. It provides much improved communications by linking existing applications and uses the internet to reduce implementation time scales and dramatically lower the cost of the project, while functionality and ROI are maximised. And, full visibility is available across the process.

Mackay concludes, "When you have 20 or 30 thousand unconnected practitioners in 200 organisations trying to share data on young people who offend and you don't have a massive budget to achieve it, then you need a radically new approach. And, our approach is a radical departure for a public programme. We knew that the way forward was to move from using open information on individually secured networks to a system where secured information is communicated across multiple networks and the internet which already connects our many organisations. We wanted to exploit cryptographic technology and the internet to achieve a highly secure network that could be up and running quickly and keep cost down to a minimum without compromising security. AEP Networks is a central part of this system, delivering the security that we need to guarantee safe delivery of sensitive personal data."
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