One of the main benefits of putting content on the Internet is that by so doing, you make it available and accessible to all. However, good web design can do more than make content accessible. It can structure, organise and represent content in ways that make it easier for users to view, navigate and understand.
Good web design is especially helpful when the ideas or processes represented are genuinely complex and multifaceted. The Throughcare Map is a new website designed to guide workers in the Scottish criminal justice system - including social workers, Scottish Prison Service staff, the voluntary sector etc. - through the various stages involved in the provision of a throughcare service to prisoners: from the point of sentence through to release and supervision within the community.
Throughcare is a complex service involving different agencies with separate and joint responsibilities, whose role varies depending on the stage in the process. The Throughcare Map website uses a railway line analogy. Different 'lines' show the separate but related roles of social work and the Scottish Prison Service in delivering voluntary assistance; statutory throughcare; sentence planning; and parole services. The individual steps in each of these processes are signposted as 'stations' on the prisoner's throughcare journey from sentence to release.
Each 'station' is carefully described and includes links to relevant policy documents, Scottish Government guidance, legislation and briefing notes (over eighty documents in total). The map also includes three compelling video case studies (embedded in the map at appropriate stages but also accessible from a link to Case Studies in the menu at the bottom of the page).
The website was commissioned by the Throughcare Champions Group, and content expertise was provided by the Criminal Justice Social Work Development Centre for Scotland (now Centre for Youth and Criminal Justice). However, we have to declare an interest here. The website was designed by the Iriss Learning Technology Team. We believe it provides an excellent resource for people learning about throughcare, and for experienced workers who need to find reference materials quickly and easily. But then we would say that, wouldn't we? Please take a look and let us know if you agree.
Visit the site: Throughcare