Crystal shares how to modernize communications and transactions with the public. 

When city-wide COVID-19 restrictions went into effect in Kansis City, the Municipal Court of Kansas City, Kan. (KCK) had to close its doors to in-person service. This meant closing off hundreds of daily visitors.

Crystal was part of a project which implemented OpenForms to help modernize communications and transactions with the public. See below to learn about Crystal's Top 4 Tips for Digitizing Justice Services:

1. Define the bigger problem

Don’t jump in with a tactical solution without defining the systemic breakdown. Your time is too valuable to spend effort on another process that will not move the organization toward its purpose. Use your energy to examine and undo the bad process and replace it with progress toward the outcome.

2. Keep policy dreams/goals top of mind

If I have a thought about a process/policy change or how I would like to see an improved outcome for a citizen, I write it down and keep it nearby, even if the environment, money or leadership can’t currently support it. Then when the situation is right or an emergency demands a solution, you have one.

An example would be the online traffic ticket diversion applications. The idea for improvement already existed, it just needed the right situation. The required court shutdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic paved the way.

3. Be nimble and future-focused

Goals need to be flexible. It’s about the outcome, not the specific form or database you identified 3 years ago. Technology will improve, your staff will be different and other policies and processes will change. It is our responsibility to keep the path

paved. That means paying attention to new technologies and products, and hiring/training staff to be flexible learners.

4. Find vendors who are also partners

I have found the best results with vendors who share in my organization’s servant leadership ideology. They will be more willing to share their knowledge and seek the best solution with you, not just tell you their product will solve all your breakdowns. They will assist in defining the problem and operationalizing a solution, all while remaining nimble and focused.

We saw 48 forms submitted in one month—two physical court hearings saved, which is a huge cost saving”

Crystal Sprague
Court Administrator