European journal for research and practice development in probation.
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DOMICE website launched: impressive resource on case management
Publication date: 25-4-2012
The DOMICE project, also known as Developing Offender Management in Corrections in Europe, focused on case management in correctional work in Europe and delivered in depth research of the European criminal justice systems. The project has now officially closed and launched its website, where it offers an authoritative and comprehensive library of case management.
‘Case management' is the process through which the different interventions and resources invested in our correctional systems are turned into individual programmes, mixed and matched to the needs and risks of each offender. It is what the process engineers call the "core business process". It is the key to both efficiency and effectiveness in correctional practice.
Curious then that little is known about how case management is organised and delivered in the different jurisdictions of Europe. There is almost no research about how different arrangements perform.
The scope of DOMICE
The DOMICE project (December 2009 to November 2011) sought to begin to fill this gap. The project has been unusual in terms of the sheer scale of engagement and positive feedback of those who have participated. 42 jurisdictions in 34 countries took part in the research, an unprecedented level of involvement. DOMICE developed an original, inductive methodological approach, using telephone interviews with correspondents in each jurisdiction. These were then tested at 5 regional focus groups. For each participating jurisdiction, the project's subject experts (Jo Chilvers and Tony Grapes) built a visual "system map" in order to compare vastly different arrangements using a common template.
The culmination of the project was an international conference in Barcelona attended by approximately 125 delegates from 35 countries. 96% of delegates said that they would use what they had learned through DOMICE in their work and 85% considered that DOMICE was of benefit to the European correctional community.
DOMICE's unique perspective, looking across whole systems, exposed a general lack of co-ordination between the different stages of the correctional process. Systems are consequently less efficient and effective than they could otherwise be. The project found that individualised case management could be identified in every system examined. The expenditure on case management is substantial. Nevertheless, nowhere is case management designed and delivered as an integrated, system-wide function. Most often arrangements are specific to particular providers, stages of the correctional system, sentences or projects. Quality assurance is comparatively weak.
Furthermore, there is little evidence that case management arrangements are understood between jurisdictions, at a time when the increasing mobility of offenders in Europe makes it all the more important that there is an understanding in one jurisdiction about the arrangements in others.
In the correctional community of Europe, DOMICE leaves behind:
- an improved and more consistent understanding of the concept of case management, enabling better cross-border dialogue, understanding and sharing
- a clearer appreciation of the central role of good case management to the effectiveness and efficiency of correctional systems, and guidance on how to design and deliver it better
- a higher profile for this important function in the minds of strategic and operational managers
- a significant contribution to international understanding, essential for the implementation of Framework Decisions 909 and 947, relating to the transfer between member states of prisoners and those serving non-custodial sanctions and measures
- better awareness of the Council of Europe Prison and Probation Rules
- a network of key personnel, able to continue to work together both independently and through the CEP
- a replicable project methodology with particular success in engaging European jurisdictions to work together
Quotations from participants
I've been involved with many European projects over many years. DOMICE ranks as one of the top three.
This has been one of the most fruitful conferences that I've attended in quite a while.I hope that the same model of research and approach will be applied in futureconferences and projects.
The timing of this project has been fantastic. We are looking to overhaul our arrangements and the learning from DOMICE has really informed our thinking.
DOMICE has acted as a catalyst to prompt us to look afresh at our case management arrangements.
DOMICE has shown us that it is possible to look at hugely diverse systems and make sense of them against a common concept and approach.
The enthusiasm and interest with which DOMICE has been received shows us that there is a vibrant correctional community across Europe keen to share ideas, knowledge and experience.