25 November 2021

HMCTS members highlight stress of using flawed Common Platform

As PCS ballots court staff over the deeply flawed and failing Common Platform system many have shared with us myriad concerns including feeling at risk, incredibly stressed, overwhelmed, and ill.

In our digital consultative ballot, which runs until 2 December, we are asking members if they agree to support our demands about the digital case management system which since its introduction in September last year, has been beset by technical problems and delays, slowing the progress of cases.

We have called on HMCTS to immediately suspend the use of CP in all courts and urged them to take urgent action to ensure the health, safety and welfare of members is protected and that the administration of justice is not adversely impacted by CP by demanding its immediate suspension in all courts.

One lawyer member told us: “I studied hard and got into debt to be an HMCTS lawyer. I’m now a data entry clerk, working with a system so poor in design it’s making me and colleagues ill. We deliver public disservice, not justice.”

One member said using CP was “like cooling down a volcano with a water pistol”.

“I cannot cope working with a system that is so incompatible with my role as a lawyer. The stress is phenomenal. I can cope even less with the constant gaslighting by HMCTS,” said another.

Another member highlighted the significant risks of the system: “We already listen to only a percentage of what is said in court (due to digitalisation) which is risky. If we have to concentrate more of our attention on common platform, we will be listening less. Our primary function is supposed to be as lawyers advising the magistrates and ensuring that decisions made in the court room are lawful. How can we do this when we have so many more demands on our attention than we can cope with?”

Back our call to put a halt to this system by voting yes in the PCS ballot.

Read the Secret Legal Adviser blog about why she has voted yes in the ballot.

Members can apply for a replacement by emailing balloting@pcs.org.uk with either their membership or National insurance number and personal email address, no later than 5pm on Monday 29 November, replacements are issued online only.

New members who join PCS between Friday 12 and Monday 29 November do not need to make a request to be included in the ballot, voting emails will automatically be issued.