HMCTS sets out reform ambitions as impact assessment begins
In this article, we provide an overview of the new HMCTS Reform milestones, set out as a result of doubts that the programme can be delivered expressed by MPs on the Public Accounts Committee (PAC).
The new May 2020 milestones include:
- Crime - preparing some Crown Courts for the test roll-out of the common platform, an online ‘hub’ to be accessed jointly by the police, Crown Prosecution Service, HMCTS and lawyers
- Crime - starting a pilot of new technology for video remand hearings
- Procuring supporting technology for more effective and efficient listing and scheduling of cases
In January, HMCTS supplied 15 milestones to be met by July, and said it has met 11 of them, including fully-digital services for probate and divorce applicants. It further said it had reached its benchmark of satisfaction remaining at or above three out of four users of civil, family and tribunal services.
Milestones that haven’t been met yet:
- Digital mediation ‘opt-out’ pilot for cases up to £300
- The completion of pilots for video hearings in civil and family cases in Manchester and Birmingham
Meanwhile, a high-level advisory panel has met to consider how best to conduct an over-arching evaluation of the government’s £1bn court reform programme, expected to report within two years. It follows criticisms by MPs and others about a lack of knowledge of how the reforms will impact in particular on vulnerable groups, the ‘digitally excluded’ and litigants-in-person.
For a more detailed analysis of the reform progress and outcomes, please see Dan Bindman’s original article in Legal Futures.