Winning Digital Transformation Project of the Year with the Ministry of Justice HM Prison and Probation Service

Triad Project Manager Michael Hudson discusses collecting an award at this year’s BCS & Computing UK IT Industry Awards with MoJ IT Director Mark Robinson.

I don’t know if you have been to Evolution in Battersea Park before, but it is massive. As I stood outside, I admit I felt some pre-night nerves.

The BCS & Computing UK IT Industry Awards 2023 is in the premier league of awards. In our category alone, we were up against nine companies, most of whom were household names. And if we were fortunate enough to win, I’d collect the trophy with MoJ IT Director Mark Robinson.

I felt anticipation on the train to Battersea. A brief reflection. What if we didn’t win? Well, I’d feel deflated, that’s true, but I’d also feel proud because what we achieved from a project management perspective came from hard graft—lots of it.

Mission impossible?

At Triad, we worked with MoJ Justice Digital and other suppliers to implement their In-Cell Technology Programme.

The mission: To oversee the installation of 15,000 laptops and 300 kiosks in prison cells and landings on 15 sites.

The challenge: Prisons are designed to keep people in, not let them in and out to fit hardware. Most prisons were Victorian. Built with thick walls and small cells, they weren’t designed for Wi-Fi! And the architects never envisaged inmates using laptops in them.

The twist: Unbeknown to the team, the project timelines clashed inconveniently with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The outcome: Transformational.

Technology can transform lives

What we regard as standard technology has helped prisoners access online services such as basic shopping and arranging activities. They can also communicate with family and allow contacts under strict supervision. In-cell technology helps prisoners feel less alone and isolated. It allows them to embrace the responsibility that technology gives them. And provides an incentive to reduce reoffending.

Staff no longer distribute email print-outs or drop off and collect paper order forms for daily processes such as food and personal supply orders. An increase in productive staff time and the removal of administrative activities have created time savings for staff who can focus on more important matters. It has:

  • Increased staff satisfaction at work.
  • Minimised friction between prisoners and staff groups impacting staff satisfaction.
  • Improved relationships with prisoners/young people through more effective communication channels and time to focus on meaningful activities.

This project was delivered in extreme circumstances by teams of committed experts constantly tested by the prison environment and the COVID-19 pandemic. They had to test the hardware in cells with prisoners and identify solutions for a mostly computer-illiterate audience. They had to balance personal security with project deadlines and navigate prison rules and regulations whilst finding rooms to store and build the hardware. And they did exactly what they had promised, which brings me back to my pre-night nerves.

Digital Transformation Project of the Year

My MOJ Digital colleagues supported our award entry (thank you, everyone). It was brilliant to work with Mark Robinson as we prepared our slides for the judges’ submission. When we finished the judges’ interview, Mark and I knew that we had used every one of those 30 minutes to explain why everyone involved in this challenging project deserved recognition for a brilliant job that has truly transformed the lives of prisoners and relieved some burden from the prison teams.

When our category was announced, I was filming it on my phone to show my wife that we hadn’t won! It was only when Mark tapped me on the shoulder and said “get your jacket on”.

So, thank you to everyone involved for all that they did. It was a massive team effort for Triad and the Ministry of Justice HM Prison and Probation Service—a night to remember.

We hope that you have found this blog useful. If you are interested in our project management capability, have a question for the Triad team, or are interested in career opportunities at Triad, then please get in touch.