Full deployment of Common Platform pushed back another year to 2025
Courts service leader tells MPs that ‘core functionality’ will be in place in the next year
Credit: Sang Hyun Cho /Pixabay
The Common Platform case-management system will take a year longer to fully implement than HM Courts and Tribunals Service previously stated, its chief executive has said.
Nick Goodwin has issued a correction after previously telling parliament’s Public Accounts Committee that the rollout of the digital service would be completed by March 2024 – a date which already a 12-month delay to the previous March 2023 target. The extra year would allow for some crown courts to avoid disrupting efforts to reduce the current backlog in hearings, he indicated.
Goodwin has now updated the committee again in a letter stating that some aspects of the system will not be implemented until March 2025.
“I [previously] stated that our revised plan ensures that the rollout of Common Platform, including all core functionality, will be completed by March 2024,” he wrote. “While it is correct that all core functionality will be delivered by this date, there will be two further releases that significantly impact crown court processes and ways of working that will not be fully rolled out until March 2025.”
Goodwin said this will allow HMCTS to “complete the rigorous testing we need with our justice partners before we commence a measured rollout of these processes, to ensure we protect recovery within the crown courts".
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“Common Platform remains fundamental to modernising the criminal court system and will bring justice partners together in a way that has never been done before,” he added.
The digital platform was initially supposed to be rolled out in all magistrates and crown courts by the end of March – with a contingency plan in place to extend this to December if needed.
The case-management system, which is a major part of HMCTS’s £1bn-plus reform programme, has been beset by delays due to development issues, the Covid-19 pandemic and technical problems.
The PCS union has repeatedly raised concerns about the system, which it says has caused an “alarming increase in reports of stress and anxiety and long working” among staff since it began being rolled out in September 2020.
Legal advisers and court associates ended months of strikes over the platform in March after HMCTS promised to take action to combat this stress and anxiety, and to give legal advisers and court associates autonomy in deciding which cases are inputted out of court.
However, PCS has not ended its campaign for the platform to be scrapped.
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