PCS is arranging to consult with members over the proposed future structure of legal operations and Tier 4 and 3 roles.
HMCTS has today launched a consultation on the future structure of Legal Operations at Tiers 3 and 4. Whilst PCS query the appropriateness of the timing of the launch we welcome a consultation that is not looking to reduce the numbers of tier 4s or 3s, that is seeking to apply more standard line management ratios based on head count rather than FTE and that explores a mechanism of career progression that does not require people management but recognises lawyers for their legal ability. These are points that PCS has PCS has consistently raised with the employer.
PCS wishes to consult our members in accordance with their contractual entitlement under the collective engagement framework in order that we may prepare a study, formulate an opinion and submit a response to the employer and in due course receive the employer’s detailed feedback on it.
Consultation timelines are always challenging and little is more challenging than a consultation involving our lawyer members. The nature of the lawyer role means that members are largely unavailable to be spoken to because they spend the majority of their working day in separate court rooms. Realistically PCS can only seek to run member’s meetings on days that time is set aside for legal adviser training and courts are closed. We would anticipate that legal adviser teams would be seeking to discuss the proposals at these training days in any event. Whilst this consultation primarily impacts on our lawyer members, they equally have some implications for senior operational managers, court associates and those who provide administrative support to legal teams and benches. In the circumstances PCS would welcome attendance at our meetings of those members too.
PCS has applied for up to an hour for every member affected to attend a consultation meeting during the timeline of the consultation. We have been advised that HOLOs will facilitate consultation taking place and have already written seeking details of the training days that have been arranged.
A deadline has been set for 16 February for the closure of the consultation. PCS has advised the employer that we reserve the right to ask for that deadline to be extended should that deadline prove unrealistic for us to be able to consult with members and respond to the employer. Details of meetings should be announced early in the New Year.