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A number of users comment on using spreadsheets to manage case and exhibit information. Spreadsheets of this kind typically include:

  • Core case information (case references, case contact information, finance and other case specific information)
  • Exhibit references with corresponding seal references and descriptions
  • Different stages of a case at the time of receipt, including who has done what, when etc which can vary greatly in level of complexity depending on the organisation.

From a cost perspective a spreadsheet is an ideal solution since most machines have spreadsheet software installed. While spreadsheets do give a user the capability to store your case and exhibit information in a single location they do have some major drawbacks.

Multi User Access - a spreadsheet may work for a single user but when multiple employees need regular access to the same file for updating the first person to open the file will be the only person who can update and save!

On Demand Access - organisations expand and contract with demand and as input increases so does the demand for access to read, update and process information centrally. This is where a database is crucial as it allows multiple connections to the same data if it is a single person or 100 people the information will be available on demand.

Report production - while it is possible to create reports from spreadsheets it is a skill often left to a techie to produce a bespoke piece of work available only to that particular department or organisation. Dedicated and tested Forensic Case Management software is designed to handle data with multiple users in mind and generate multiple consistent reports from multiple users at the same time including receipt and release forms, case progress and case information forms.

Bespoke development - bespoke may serve your organisation well for immediate aims but what if the developer leaves the organisation. Who can you ask for advice when a bespoke system needs updating, how much time/cost would be involved in updating a custom system. What if you leave an organisation and the new organisation has no management software! Using off the shelf Forensic Case Management software means other organisations are also using that software which means a continual requirement by the developers to constantly update software to an acceptable standard. An off the shelf solution frees up any time/cost requirements trying to develop your own solution in the first instance. The pricing makes it very affordable for both individual or departmental requirements.

If you are using a spreadsheet or considering developing your own spreadsheet for Case Management purposes take a look at the forensic Case Exhibit Management System (CEMS) as an alternative at Case Managemen Software