ESR is the sole provider of forensic science services to the New Zealand Police, and frequently undertake work for other Government agencies and commercial partners. Within ESR, the Forensic Science Unit (FSU) analyses human tissue, crime-scene trace evidence, bodily samples and any other evidential material, with their comprehensive knowledge of the presence and interpretation of DNA utilised across the country and around the world.
Offence Against Person (OAP) cases are assigned to the FSU with a single accompanying time-based Service Level Agreement (SLA). This assumes that all cases are uniform in their complexity, when in reality there are multiple inputs of varying sizes, quality and types per case, over a period of time. In addition there are external drivers that lead to ad hoc prioritisation of cases.
ESR tasked Datamine with providing a comprehensive understanding of cases, including patterns of inputs, timeliness and case profiles. ESR plans to use the results to improve efficiency of the FSU, and enable the informed setting of SLAs.
Using anonymised operational OAP metadata, Datamine defined and analysed key measurements and variables for TAT (turnaround time) of cases across a defined period of time. ESR had recently updated their internal processes, thus the goal of the analysis was to quantify whether the updated processes had led to an improvement in TAT, as well as identifying additional areas for improvement.
Datamine’s discovery analysis identified patterns and lags between time events and pathways in each value chain. For example:
- the number of business days from first exhibit received and last report sent,
- numbers of containers, analysis per case, exhibits and sub-exhibits per case
Key interpretations reported the number of cases completed within the prescribed SLA and the sort of cases where the SLA was infeasible.
Recommendations made to ESR include:
- Setting individual SLAs for cases based on case-specific variables such as the number of exhibits in the case
- Aiming to minimise time between exhibits received and analysis start, in order to reduce the average TAT
Datamine’s analysis has been used as a bench mark for other case types and has enabled discussions between ESR and the police to address operational lags in the process.
ESR’s focus is now on understanding the interrelationships between cases and the impact they have on each other with the goal of being able to predict the time a case will take depending on the inputs to the case in any given time so that realistic expectations can be set.