14 March 2019
HMCTS delays completion of court modernisation programme
The HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has delayed the completion of its court modernisation project by a year.
The government announced this month that the ambitious reform programme costing £1bn will now not be finished until 2023.
HMCTS explained that the delay follows feedback from the Public Accounts Committee and National Audit Office (NAO) as well as learnings from services that have already been reformed. The additional time is needed to develop some of the shared systems that will form the basis of the next set of online services and to reorder aspects of the programme.
Last May, the NAO warned that HMCTS was behind where it expected to be at this stage and faced a “daunting challenge” to deliver the scale of technological and cultural change necessary to modernise the justice system and achieve the required savings.
CILEx has long been concerned about the access to justice implications of the reforms at a time when the courts system is facing persistent underfunding, staff cuts and court closures.
We hope HMCTS will use the additional time it now has to engage meaningfully with the professionals keeping the system afloat to understand the challenges involved and to ensure the project improves rather than hinders access to justice.
CILEx is responding to the justice select committee’s call for evidence on the access to justice impacts of court and tribunal reforms, contributing the recommendations of CILEx members. Watch this space for further details.