The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) has developed and implemented an innovative enterprise case management system for managing and tracking case activity and documents throughout the life of a case.
The NLRB enforces the National Labor Relations Act (“NLRA” or “the Act”). The two main areas covered by the NLRA are unfair labor practices (i.e., alleged violations of the Act) and representation petitions, in which the Agency determines questions of whether employees wish to be represented by labor organizations. The Agency carries out both prosecutorial and adjudicatory functions. The prosecutorial side of the agency, consisting of 51 field offices, and led by the General Counsel located in Washington, investigates and prosecutes alleged violations of the NLRA. The adjudicatory side, which includes the Board and Division of Judges, considers the evidence in a case and determines whether violations of the Act have occurred, or whether an election should be held, re-run, or the results certified. Due to the bifurcated nature of the Agency, it is imperative for the fairness and integrity of the adjudicatory process that the General Counsel and the Board have the ability to control access to their respective case processing information and documents.
Due to these internal security concerns and various offices’ distinct system preferences, the Agency had never previously undertaken to have a single Agency-wide system for processing cases. At the time work began on building the NxGen system, the Agency had 11 separate case tracking systems. As a case progressed through different divisions in the agency, each office would create a new entry in its separate system. This led to duplicate entries by various offices with attendant inefficiencies and inconsistencies. In addition, because there was no comprehensive document management system, significant time was spent on tracking, maintaining, and shipping hard copy documents between offices.
The NxGen system was built in a way that solves the security concerns by limiting access to and visibility of case information and documents depending of the user’s profile. Case information is entered as the case progresses and is maintained from division to division, eliminating duplication of data entry. The system allows users access only to information that a particular office has a need to review.
This effort involved significant collaboration between the various parts of the Agency to ensure that all business needs were identified and met. An Integrated Project Team (“IPT”) made up of high-level managers from across the Agency was set up to oversee the development of the NxGen project. This greatly facilitated coordination of business needs between different offices and divisions within the Agency, and provided valuable oversight of the project’s progress during the development process. The application continues to be enhanced, but most offices in the Agency are now working in the NxGen system.
NxGen is web-based and provides many benefits to Agency employees both in Headquarters and around the country, including: universal access to electronic case information and documents, such as transcripts, exhibits and other contents of the case file; automatic recording of document and event dates; case participant information; and search and reporting capabilities across divisional boundaries.