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        The Elsie Cropper Award


        This award was instituted in memory of Elsie May Cropper, a senior member of the Operational Research Executive (ORE) of British Coal, who died in service in 1989, aged 44 years. Elsie had always been a strong supporter of sandwich students who worked for a year in industry as part of their degree, and the fund set up in her name initially supported grants for books for such students. These grants are no longer offered. The award is now given for the best paper presented at the society’s biennial New to OR conferences. The award takes the form of a replica shield, with the winner’s name being added to the Elsie Cropper Shield, held at the society’s offices.

        The Elise Cropper Memoiral Shield of The OR Society

        The Elsie Cropper Memorial Shield

        2019 Elsie Cropper Award Winner

        Benjamin Lavelle, Ministry of Justice

        Paper Title: "A New to OR Guide to… automated forecasting of criminal court cases at the Ministry of Justice."

        Recruiting a new judge, opening a new courtroom, building a new prison; responding to changes in demand in the criminal justice system can be a lengthy and expensive process. With a responsibility to deliver an efficient and effective justice system that caters for such changes whilst responsibly managing the public purse, the Ministry of Justice has to rely on forecasting and analytical insight to predict future levels of demand on courts and prisons. Disparate and disconnected data from Britain's nearly 100 crown courts, a range of stakeholders and governance structures and careful quality assurance work can soak up analysts' time. This talk will introduce the conference to the cross-government Reproducible Analytical Pipeline (RAP) project, and demonstrate how the RAP has been extended to provide an automated data-gathering and decision support platform for forecasting criminal court cases in England and Wales, equipping the team with the data and tools to produce deeper insight at a faster pace. It will cover a number of the challenges of working with large administrative data systems, competing measures of hearing times, case classification and courtroom usage, and maintaining consistency and reproducibility against a shifting data architecture and under keen political scrutiny.

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        Benjamin Lavelle Elsie Cropper.jpg

        Benjamin Lavelle with The OR Society President, John Hopes

        Previous Awards

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