Chapter Four — The Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project

Overview

In the 2015/16 Annual Report, the Judge Advocate General announced the creation of an audit team in order to “develop and pilot a process for… [the collection of] objective and measurable data from a variety of sources and through a variety of mechanisms in order to assess unit level administration of the Code of Service Discipline.” In 2017, the Judge Advocate General directed that the superintendence of the administration of the military justice system be enabled in a manner that ensures that the Government of Canada, the Department of National Defence, the Canadian Armed Forces, and Canadians have confidence in the legitimacy, efficiency, and effectiveness of the military justice system, and in its capability to promote discipline, efficiency, and morale in the Canadian Armed Forces.

Based on this mandate, the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project was created within the Military Justice Division, and personnel were assigned to the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team to commence development of a number of initiatives designed to enhance the military justice system.

These important initiatives combine to provide institutional strategic oversight and a pool of objective and measurable data in support of evidence-based decision making. This will serve to enhance the Judge Advocate General’s ability to superintend the administration of justice within the Canadian Armed Forces.

Furthermore, each of these projects contributes significantly to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ response to the 2018 reports of the Office of the Auditor General of Canada and of the House of Commons Standing Committee on Public Accounts with respect to the military justice system, outlined below.

2018 Reports on the Administration of Military Justice

On 29 May 2018, the Office of the Auditor General tabled its Report 3—Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces and provided nine recommendations to improve the administration of military justice.Footnote 1  The Office of the Auditor General report was studied in the fall of 2018 by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts, which subsequently released its own report on 6 December 2018 entitled Report 3, Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces, of the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada.Footnote 2  This report echoed and supplemented the findings and conclusions of the Office of the Auditor General’s report. The Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces agreed with all nine recommendations and submitted a detailed Management Action Plan describing the departmental response to address the recommendations.

A number of important initiatives developed by the Office of the Judge Advocate General (Office of the JAG) form a critical part of that response, with the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team playing a key role. Four of the nine recommendations were fully implemented at the conclusion of the last reporting period. These recommendations focused on: timely disclosure to Canadian Armed Forces members charged with service offences; the continued development of litigation expertise necessary for legal officers in prosecution and defence counsel positions; defining policies for the Director of Military Prosecutions to assign cases and document decisions; and assessing the independence of the Director of Military Prosecutions and the Director of Defence Counsel Services. During this reporting period, the Office of the JAG has made progress towards the full implementation of the remaining recommendations through the launch of the four initiatives described below.Footnote 3 

Key Initiatives of the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team

  • The Justice Administration and Information Management System (JAIMS)
  • The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project (MJSEP)
  • Military Justice Time Standards (MJTS)
  • The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework (MJS-PMF)

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Initiatives

The Justice Administration and Information Management System

 
Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework incorporates three types of indicators: 1) Input Indicators (measuring workload, activities, and the resources at the disposal of the system); 2) Output Indicators (measuring the outputs produced by the system and its various components); and 3) Outcome Indicators (measuring performance against the broad objectives of the military justice system).

Screenshot of the "Investigation" interface in JAIMS

JAIMS

  • Innovative electronic case management tool and database designed to seamlessly and electronically track military justice files from beginning to end
  • Provides commanders at all levels with a user-friendly, responsible, effective, and efficient real-time workflow tool that will facilitate the administration of military justice at the unit level
  • Ensures that cases proceed through the system in a timely manner, prompting key actors to take necessary action at the appropriate time
  • Supports the Office of the JAG’s improvement towards enhanced data-based decision making in the superintendence of the administration of military justice
  • Provides critical data to assist in strategic oversight of the administration of the military justice system

Background

The Justice Administration and Information Manage-ment System (JAIMS) is an innovative electronic case management tool and database designed by the Assistant Deputy Minister (Information Management) with subject matter expert advice from the Office of the JAG, to seamlessly and electronically track military justice files from the reporting of an alleged offence, through to investigation, charge laying, trial disposition, and review in both the summary trial and court martial processes. Front-end users of the system (including investigators, charge layers, presiding officers, review authorities, referral authorities, and legal advisers) input data at each stage of the process thereby allowing the progress of a file to be tracked in real-time.

JAIMS delivers the means to provide commanders at all levels with a user-friendly, real-time workflow tool that will facilitate the administration of military justice at the unit level. It will also support the flow of cases through the system in a timely manner by ensuring that cases proceed in the proper order.

In addition, the system responds, in part, to all five of the Office of the Auditor General’s remaining recommendations and forms a critical piece of the Office of the JAG’s improvement toward enhanced data-based decision making in the superintendence of the administration of military justice.

JAIMS will also compile relevant statistics on the administration of military justice and provide critical data to assist in strategic oversight. In particular, the system will provide a substantial amount of the data required by the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework (described below). This feature is critical to the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ response to the Office of the Auditor General, as it assists the evolution of improved data-based decision making in the superintendence of the administration of military justice. The newly released Military Justice Time Standards (described below) are also being incorporated into JAIMS, ensuring that users are prompted to provide a justification in the event a time standard has not been met. This synergistic approach also aligns with the Department of National Defence’s Management Action Plan, in particular, ensuring the definition, communication, tracking, and application of time standards.

Launch

The development of JAIMS’ core functionality was completed in 2019, and currently allows users to input, advance, and track non-electable,Footnote 4 summary trial charges. Development of  more advanced functionality allowing for accommodation of electable Footnote5 and court-martial cases is ongoing (discussed below). The system was launched on 27 September 2019 to certain units based in Petawawa. Members of the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team conducted on-site training to facilitate the launch. These units are exercising the real-world capabilities of the system, providing valuable feedback to the developer, and demonstrating the benefits of integrated case management to members of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Ongoing Development, COVID-19 Pandemic, and Operation LASER

The development of the more advanced functionality within JAIMS is ongoing. This advanced functionality will ensure that all types of military justice cases can be accommodated within the system and will facilitate integration with select other departmental data systems. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and Operation LASER restrictions, development and the continued rollout has been delayed. Once the pandemic restrictions are eased, development will resume, and the rollout of JAIMS will continue in a measured and responsible manner across the Canadian Armed Forces.

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The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project

MJSEP

  • Key initiative designed to gather and analyze data on the administration of the military justice system
  • Consists of a focused online survey designed to collect subjective and qualitative (but also quantifiable and measurable) data in order to better assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the military justice system
  • Survey questionnaire pays particular attention to respondents’ perceived fairness of the summary trial system
  • Promotes data being leveraged in all aspects of Defence programs in order to provide business intelligence and analytics for planning, reporting, and support to decision-making

Background

The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project consists of a focused online survey designed to collect subjective and qualitative (but also quantifiable and measurable) data from a variety of military justice stakeholders. The online surveys are developed in cooperation with the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, with the objective of connecting with military justice stakeholders in order to better assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of the military justice system and to address any identified issues.

Survey questions range from demographic information (years in the Canadian Armed Forces, current unit and rank, official language, etc.) to length of proceedings, adequacy of training and experience, resources consulted, opinion on legal assistance received, and overall experience within the military justice system. In some cases, respondents are also given the opportunity to provide comments with respect to specific questions.

The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project is part of the Office of the JAG’s ongoing commitment to gather and analyze data on the administration of military justice in order to identify and rigorously assess areas for improvement. It also represents one of the current efforts by the Office of the JAG related specifically to recommendation seven of the Office of the Auditor General, to undertake periodic reviews of the administration of the military justice system.

The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project aligns itself with Canada’s Defence Policy - Strong, Secure, Engaged, as well as the 2018-2021 Office of the JAG Strategic Direction.Footnote 6  Furthermore, the Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project advances the vision of the Department of National Defence and Canadian Armed Forces Data Strategy in that it promotes data being “leveraged in all aspects of Defence programs…” in order to provide “business intelligence and analytics for planning, reporting, and support to decision-making” as well as “to provide foresight and recommendations…”Footnote 7 

The 2018-2019 Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project Survey

The 2018-2019 survey focused on military justice at the summary trial level. In order to collect the required data, electronic surveys were sent to all identifiable Canadian Armed Forces members who had participated in the military justice system at the summary trial level during the reporting period of 1 April 2018 to 31 March 2019. Of the 1330 participants, 996 received the email survey request and 436 surveys were completed (a total response rate of 32.7%). Responses were received from 73 Accused members, 92 Assisting Officers, 119 Charge Layers, 110 Presiding Officers, 36 Commanding Officers, and 6 Review Authorities. Each respondent was asked a number of questions, which varied depending on their role in the summary trial system.

The 2018-2019 Stakeholder Survey Results are attached to this report as Annex E. The majority of non-accused respondents believed the summary trial system to be fair. 82% of Assisting Officers, 92% of Charge Layers, 97% of Commanding Officers, 99% of Presiding Officers, and 100% of Review Authorities responded that they believe the military justice system is fair. Their concerns were primarily with regard to the timeliness of proceedings, and the adequacy of training and resources. Conversely, 51% of Accused respondents felt that the system is unfair. Issues were raised with respect to the training and preparedness of Assisting Officers, the timeliness of proceedings, the ability to make full answer and defence, and fairness in sentencing.

Future Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project Surveys

The 2019-2020 Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project Survey was planned for release to participants in April 2020. However, given the disruption to regular business activities stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic and the activation of Operation LASER, the survey has been delayed. Upon the resumption of regular business activities, the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team, with the assistance of the Director General Military Personnel Research and Analysis, intends to circulate the survey, compile the data, and prepare the next report.

The data gathered from the 2018-2019 survey will be drawn upon by the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework (outlined below) and will also serve as a baseline for comparison with future Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project surveys going forward. As trend directions in the survey data become apparent, the Office of the JAG will be better positioned to identify and address potential issues affecting the military justice system. The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project will continue to assist the Office of the JAG to connect with stakeholders from across the spectrum of the military justice system in order to periodically review the efficiency, effectiveness, and legitimacy of the system, and to make data-driven improvements.

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Military Justice Time Standards

MJTS

  • Established on 13 September 2019, the Military Justice Time Standards define and communicate time standards for every phase of the military justice process
  • Time standards are being integrated into the Justice Administration and Information Management System
  • Users will be required to enter a justification when a time standard is not met
  • Will assist in identifying causes of delays within the military justice system
  • Promotes efficiency in the administration of the military justice system

Background

In its 2018 Report 3—Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces, the Office of the Auditor General recommended that “the Canadian Armed Forces should define and communicate time standards for every phase of the military justice process…” A similar recommendation was made by the Standing Committee on Public Accounts in its Report 3, Administration of Justice in the Canadian Armed Forces, of the 2018 Spring Reports of the Auditor General of Canada.  The Department of National Defence accepted the recommendation and committed to introducing “these time standards in a manner that respects rules of fairness and legal requirements.”Footnote 8 

In order to implement the recommendation, the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team conducted an internal review of time standards, and engaged in consultations with, notably, the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Director of Military Prosecutions, the Director of Defence Counsel Services, the Canadian Armed Forces Discipline Advisory Council, and the Court Martial Administrator.

Launch

The new Military Justice Time Standards were communicated through Canadian Forces General Message (CANFORGEN) 023/20, in order to convey their significance to all participants within the military justice system and to publicly fulfill the Department of National Defence and the Canadian Armed Forces’ commitment in response to the Office of the Auditor General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts.

The Military Justice Time Standards are listed in a table attached as Annex G to this report and have been made available online.Footnote 9 

The time standards are being incorporated into JAIMS to further facilitate their tracking and application. JAIMS will require decision makers to provide a justification, should they not meet the time standards. This will assist in identifying and resolving the causes of delays in the military justice system. In combination with the other initiatives under the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project, Military Justice Time Standards will help contribute to the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the Canadian Armed Forces.

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Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework

MJS-PMF

  • Improves the consolidation of information and metrics on the military justice system, in order to better support data-based decision making and effective superintendence
  • Consists of a series of justice indicators which will report objective data on the effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy of the military justice system
  • The indicators will provide valuable feedback to policy makers and will permit the Judge Advocate General to better monitor the performance of the military justice system
  • Will contribute to making the military justice system more transparent and accountable
  • Promotes data being leveraged in all aspects of Defence programs in order to provide business intelligence and analytics for planning, reporting, and support to decision-making, as well as to provide foresight and recommendations

Background

In order to better support data-based decision making and to improve effective superintendence, the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team have developed a Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework. This framework was developed in conjunction with Professor Yvon Dandurand, the leading international expert on performance monitoring and justice system analytics. A report outlining this framework, entitled Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework, is attached to this Annual Report as Annex F.

The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework is a robust series of justice indicators which will report objective data on the effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy of the military justice system. The indicators will permit the Judge Advocate General, as superintendent of the administration of military justice, to monitor the performance of the military justice system, draw attention to potential issues, assist with the development of benchmarks for future performance, and monitor the impact of changes to the military justice system. The indicators will provide valuable feedback to policy makers and will ultimately make the military justice system more transparent and accountable.

As the Government stated in its response to the 2018 Report of the Office of the Auditor General, this system will report “data on all aspects of the military justice system, enabling an enhanced assessment of the efficiency and effectiveness of the system on an ongoing basis. This will allow for the identification of weaknesses in the system and enable targeted measures to address them. This data-driven effort will transform the government’s capacity to strengthen military justice procedures.”Footnote 10

In developing the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework, the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Team consulted with a number of internal and external stakeholders, including the Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, the Canadian Forces Provost Marshal, the Director of Military Prosecutions, the Director of Defence Counsel Services, the Canadian Armed Forces Discipline Advisory Council, the Court Martial Administrator, and counsel to the Office of the Chief Military Judge.

The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework Explained

The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework ultimately aims to enhance the effectiveness, efficiency, and legitimacy of the military justice system. In order to do so, performance is measured at two levels: 1) the performance of the military justice system as a whole, and 2) the performance of the various components individually and in their contribution to the overall performance of the military justice system.

To accomplish this task, the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework incorporates three types of indicators: 1) Input Indicators (measuring workload, activities, and the resources at the disposal of the system); 2) Output Indicators (measuring the outputs produced by the system and its various components); and 3) Outcome Indicators (measuring performance against the broad objectives of the military justice system). These three indicators encompass 25 currently defined dimensions, which are themselves informed by 54 individual data points (outlined in the attached Annex F).

Figure 4-1: The Three Types of Indicators and Related Dimensions

Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework incorporates three types of indicators: 1) Input Indicators (measuring workload, activities, and the resources at the disposal of the system); 2) Output Indicators (measuring the outputs produced by the system and its various components); and 3) Outcome Indicators (measuring performance against the broad objectives of the military justice system).
Figure 4-1: Long description

Figure 4-1: The Three Types of Indicators and Related Dimensions

  • Input Indicators (measuring workload, activities, and the resources at the disposal of the system)
    Dimensions: Volume of cases, Frequency of solving crime, Frequency of military prosecutions, Frequency of civil prosecutions, Frequency of summary trials, DMP preferral rate, Frequency of courts martial, Cost of courts martial
  • Output Indicators (measuring the outputs produced by the system and its various components)
    Dimensions: Timeliness of process, Pre-trial detention, Early resolution of cases, Outcomes of proceedings, Legal assistance provided to accused, Summary trial reviews, Judicial Review, Appeals to Court Martial Appeal Court
  • Outcome Indicators (measuring performance against the broad objectives of the military justice system)
    Dimensions: Outcomes of summary trial reviews, Outcomes of judicial reviews, Outcomes of appeals, Access to justice for accused members, Access to justice for victims, Confidence in the military justice system, Perceived fairness of the military justice system

 

Each of these indicators acts as an observation post across the military justice system. The data can signal when further analysis may be required. In particular, the framework will illuminate trend directions over time, allowing early intervention where and if necessary. In this way, the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework better equips the Judge Advocate General to effectively and efficiently superintend the administration of the military justice system.

Integration with the Justice Administration and Information Management System

The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework indicators are being integrated into JAIMS, which will be the primary source of data and will provide a number of data points for the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework. Remaining data points will be drawn from the Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project surveys and certain administrative and financial data.

As the rollout of JAIMS progresses in future reporting periods, the Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework will begin to report objective data.

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Conclusion

This reporting period has seen a number of important milestones within the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project, the Office of the JAG, and the administration of military justice as a whole. The Justice Administration and Information Management System launched on 27 September 2019. The Military Justice Stakeholder Engagement Project completed its first survey and delivered a comprehensive report on its findings. Military Justice Time Standards were defined and communicated to the Canadian Armed Forces, and their integration into the Justice Administration and Information Management System began. The Military Justice System Performance Monitoring Framework was developed in close consultation with an international expert in the field, and will provide critical data on the military justice system.

Individually, each of these initiatives responds to at least one of the recommendations of the Office of the Auditor General and the Standing Committee on Public Accounts. Taken together, these initiatives being delivered as part of the Superintendence Enhancement and Assessment Project support the superintendence of the administration of military justice, and contribute to the discipline, efficiency, and morale of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Figure 4-2: Summary of Remaining Recommendations and Corresponding Initiatives

Figure 4-2: Summary of Remaining Recommendations and Corresponding Initiatives
Figure 4-2: Long description

Figure 4-2: Summary of Remaining Recommendations and Corresponding Initiatives

  • #1 Identify causes of delays and implement corrective measures to reduce them (JAIMS, MJS-PMF)
  • #2 Define, communicate, and   track time standards (JAIMS, MJS-PMF, MJTS)
  • #3 Establish formal communication to ensure actors can carry out duties and functions (JAIMS)
  • #6 Implement a case management system (JAIMS)
  • #7 Regularly assess the efficiency and effectiveness of the administration of military justice and correct any identified weaknesses (JAIMS, MJS-PMF, MJSEP)

 

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