MoJ creates open source analytics platform

Project reaches private beta phase with the creation of new tools and plans to increase internal use

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has begun to use a new analytical platform for data in its decision making.

A private beta version is now being used by more than 50 analysts, and as the basis for a number of new tools.

Abstract - flash of light against binary numbersblogpost by the MoJ’s digital team says the project to develop the platform has been going on for 18 months, and is aimed at giving the ministry’s analysts access to tools that have historically not been available to government bodies.

It has built the platform on Amazon Web Services and the open source Kubernetes system, creating a virtual infrastructure to support secure environments running analytical software such as R Studio and Jupyter Lab.

Among the tools developed on the platform is one that uses machine learning to analyse the free text in parliamentary questions and their responses. Another has produced statistics from the MoJ for use by the Office of National Statistics.

Visualisations

In addition, the ministry’s data scientists have produced a number of interactive data visualisations for internal use, including real time models to help it understand how new policies can affect people’s access to justice.

The digital team has also supported the open source movement by making the codes for the tools available on GitHub.

It is now planning to increase internal access to the platform, with the aim of making its regular business activities easier.

“The ambition is to empower our analysts to be the best they can be, by giving them access to tools which they regard as the best available,” the blog says. “We want to provide them with powerful tools that make it easier to tackle our most thorny analytical problems and reduce the complexity of some of the important but time consuming aspects of their jobs.”

Image from GOV.UK, Open Government Licence v3.0