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Six Sigma, Viewpoint!

Does the Ministry of Justice need Six Sigma thinking?

On July 6th 2009 Jack Straw, the Justice Secretary, admitted that up to 1,000 criminals, including murderers and rapists, who should have been recalled to prison are still at large.  According to the Ministry of Justice, about 100,000 offenders have been released from jail on licence and then recalled to prison since 1984.  However, of these, 954 have still not been found.   They include 20 murderers, 15 rapists or attempted rapists, 18 other sex offenders, 126 robbers and a further 138 violent offenders.
Mr. Straw said: “The recall system works well.  Of those recalled between 1999 and June 2008, just 0.7 per cent of offenders have not been apprehended”.
Perhaps if The Ministry of Justice applied some Six Sigma thinking it wouldn’t be so sure (and complacent) that “the recall system works well”.  Six Sigma records mistakes in terms of defects per million opportunities (DPMO).  So, 0.7% is 7000 DPMO.  So, being generous, we’re talking about a 3 Sigma process.  Not exactly well on track to being (6 Sigma) world class levels of performance is it?
I don’t have the data, but I’d also bet that if the process was subjected to a bit of Control Chart analysis there would be little evidence of process improvement and we’d see high levels of common cause variation from year to year.

You might also be interested to read my article “Managing by Numbers“.


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