Ministry Of Justice


NOMS is an executive agency of the Ministry of Justice, bringing together the headquarters of the Probation Service and HM Prison Service to enable more effective delivery of services. The two bodies remain distinct but have a strong unity of purpose – to protect the public and reduce reoffending. Prison and probation services ensure the sentences of the courts are properly carried out and work with offenders to tackle the causes of their offending behaviour.

OASys is the abbreviated term for the Offender Assessment System, used in England and Wales by Her Majesty's Prison Service and the National Probation Service. It is considered to be the most advanced system of its kind in the world. This risk assessment tool was rolled out in 2002 to measure the risks and needs of criminal offenders under their supervision. It also has an important part to play in delivering the Home Office objectives of reduced re-offending and improved public protection.

As part of a modernisation programme the existing OASys system is to be completely re-developed to provide a new single database with an integrated web based application.

Zippy Zebra were initally engaged by Capita and HP to do a number of technical workshops to prove the technical feasibility of creating such a large application using Oracle APEX. After the successful completion of these workshops, covering the technical aspects of the challenges ahead, Zippy Zebra was commissioned for the technical design and application development of the new OAsys using the latest Oracle technology including Oracle 11g RAC, Oracle BI Publisher and Oracle APEX.

The goals of the new OAsys are to provide a single database containing all offender and assessment records delivered to the users in a browser based application with a rich user interface including excellent support for assistive technologies. The system will deal with vast data volumes and have a user base of 30,000 so from the early design stages we were designing and creating technical solutions to provide good performance, scaleability, solid security and integration to other internal systems.

We have been working with Capita and NOMS to create the new application using Oracle and APEX, the Zippy Zebra team have been responsible for all aspects of the technical design, application development and configuration management. Due to our extensive years of experience with Oracle technology and APEX we have been able to create an application that meets all of the requirements as specified by NOMS and to date has been receiving extremely good feeback from its future users.