PCS interim response to Transforming Compliance and Enforcement Programme Proposal

11 Jan 2018

On 1 November 2017 as part of pre-dispute resolution discussions it was agreed that the consultation had been inadequate and that PCS had not been in a position to consult with members ahead of the decision on TCEP being made. The formal decision on TCEP was therefore delayed to allow PCS to consult with members. However during workplace meetings it became obvious that not all staff had been given enough information to help inform the PCS response.  PCS also had not been given some of the information we requested.  Therefore this must be considered as an interim response.

There has been a failure to properly consult with the DTUS. The consultation process clearly started at a stage in the process when the decision had been made and the ability for PCS and members to influence the decision making process has been severely hampered. Although the efforts made to redress this are acknowledged they commenced at such a late stage that the perception of members is that the proposal is a done deal and that the late consultation process was a sop to prevent dispute escalation.

The failure to properly involve staff in the development of the project and the failure to provide them with the rationale behind the proposals and the supporting evidence has severely limited the ability for PCS to respond to the proposals. It has prevented members from scrutinising the rationale and putting forward alternative proposals. In the absence of a wide understanding of the proposals and the reasons that informed the decision there is a widely held view that that the proposal is merely a rehash of the private sector modelling and that this model is not the best option. Without effective scrutiny of the rationale and supporting evidence the case for change is not made out.

Conclusions

HMCTS should not proceed to the implementation stage until a proper consultation exercise is undertaken that allows all the information that has been used to inform the proposals to be shared with PCS members. Failure to undertake a proper meaningful consultation exercise would constitute a continued failure of the Collective Engagement Framework.

The staff that currently undertake this work and have consistently performed above expectations during a period of uncertainty and under investment have been an underused resource to help inform the decision making process. They have been and remain significant stakeholders in the success of NCES and HMCTS and feel totally disenfranchised from the process. Proper utilisation of their skills, knowledge and experience in designing new ways of working would have resulted in other potentially viable solutions that would have resulted in HMCTS achieving efficiencies through a process where staff are invested stakeholders.

HMCTS should not proceed with the implementation of the project. Members of NCES should be given an opportunity to be involved in the development and design of new working methods to enable them to look at providing viable solutions for new ways of working.

There is a wide perception that NCES is seen a separate and disparate entity to HMCTS and not as part of the end-to-end criminal justice process.  Not keeping TCEP in line with the rest of the Reform project may result in disjointed working practices. This will necessary include ensuring that the proposed IT system is not incompatible with other HMCTS IT systems to ensure that those accessing HMCTS at CTSCs or Local Tiers who may also have enforcement issues do not have to be redirected elsewhere.

HMCTS should not proceed with the implementation of the project. There should a clear reaffirmation that NCES is part of HMCTS and the TCEP should be aligned with the rest of the Reform Project.

HMCTS is perceived to have a poor track record on the procurement and delivery of IT solutions. There is no evidence to suggest “off the shelf” IT solutions have ever been tested or used for public sector work and whether the system is suitable given the unique nature of the work.

HMCTS should not proceed to implementation until the IT is tested to ensure that it is suitable for use within the public sector and is compatible with other HMCTS systems of working.

In the absence of a cohesive People Impact Strategy that is robust enough to deal with the multi-layered people impact of the Reform project,  both HMCTS and the wider department are at significant risk of an unfair process that results in significant inequality of treatment that may leave the HMCTS and or the wider MoJ open to significant reputational damage.

HMCTS should not proceed to implementation until a cohesive overarching People Impact Strategy for Reform has been negotiated and put in place.

There is no evidence of an Equality Analysis that looks at the equality impacts in relation to HMCTS Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED), the potential risks of discriminatory outcomes on the wider public and staff (whether permanent contract civil servants, fixed term contract or agency staff). Without evidence of how HMCTS will seek to mitigate, ameliorate, reduce potentially discriminatory outcomes there is a risk that HMCTS may be open to challenge and suffer significant reputational damage. There must be a question mark on whether HMCTS is failing in its PSED.

HMCTS should not proceed to implementation until a full Equality Analysis/Equality Impact Assessment of all aspect of the proposals including IT procurement has been undertaken.

There is no evidence of a socio-economic impact assessment for the proposal despite some evidence that the decisions will have a significant impact in socially deprived areas. HMCTS should ensure that an assessment is not just taken in relation to the TCEP proposals but covers the whole of reform to seek to minimise the impacts across all English and Welsh regions.

HMCTS should not proceed to implementation until a socio-economic impact assessment is undertaken of the whole of HMCTS Reform which include the TCEP proposal.

Read the full report online.  

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