Around 1,000 staff employed by HM Courts and Tribunal Serivce's National Compliance and Enforcement Service are fearful for their future after HMCTS proposed to centralise the work of its 50 offices to just three service centres in Cwmbran, Runcorn and Leeds.
The reduction of offices is reliant on a modern Debt Management IT System.
HMCTS did not consult staff at the planning stage but yesterday (31 January) staff were invited to a webchat to ask management questions about their plans. Unfortunately due to a technical glitch it is thought that up to 50% of staff were unable to join the online exchange.
Staff were frustrated that using computers installed in 2017 they could not join the webchat to ask questions.
PCS opposes the move to so few sites and is committed to fighting compulsory redundancy and relocation. The new offices will be well beyond daily travel for the vast majority of staff. The loss of local knowledge will seriously hinder the successful enforcement of criminal fines set by courts.
A spokesperson for the union said: “These proposals are driven by cutting costs and aren’t in the interest of justice being served. The best way to improve collection rates is to improve the accuracy of the information provided by the prosecution authorities. Too often NCES staff have the impossible task of enforcing payments based on incorrect or no information about the debtor.
“Staff were understandably frustrated that they were unable to have input into controversial centralisation plans which are reliant on the use of technology due to technical issues relating to recently installed computers.”