The Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal (VCAT) has enlisted the help of PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) to help it tackle a mounting case backlog generated by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The government body turned to the global accounting and professional service giant to remove its legacy case management system that was approaching end of life, replacing it with Dynamics 365.
Working with PwC and Microsoft, VCAT now has digitised paper files and processes in readiness for its Planning and Environment lists going completely digital this year.
The system is able to allocate correspondence to the relevant case in Dynamics 365, provides for online applications through portals and emails, and manages payments as well as decision notifications. Power Apps have been developed to manage the flow of information and work processes across the division.
On average VCAT tackles 80,000 cases a year in the past and operates in around 60 locations but was seeking to become more digitally streamlined with more client self-service.
Initially, PwC deployed the new digital platform for VCAT’s Planning and Environment Division, creating a tribunal case management system built on Microsoft Dynamics 365, leveraging the Power Platform as well as Teams and SharePoint.
The body now hopes to roll out digital platforms to manage and streamline the dispute resolution process across its remaining four divisions.
PwC began rolling out the platform in 2020 after VCAT found itself heavily disrupted by the COVID-19 pandemic, with members (personnel who hear cases) and operations staff having to work from home with limited access to VCAT systems and documents.
Initially, only the most urgent cases were being heard via telephone and video conference, which led to significant delays in dispute resolution.
“So, we stopped in-person hearings and we weren’t in a position to just quickly move to our amazing digital platform to hear matters remotely,” said Melissa Biram, VCAT director of strategic and operational change.
“We had to really scramble in terms of how we were going to initially stop, and then how are we going to maintain a level of operation during the pandemic.”