Ministry of Justice cuts have seen the government slash the department’s budget by 40%, with more to come, hitting many service users and staff hard. To support the PCS defending justice campaign we want to hear members’ experience of the cuts, about how you feel you have been treated by your employer under the HMCTS Reform Programme and the creation of CTSC’s and closure of other workplaces.
The chancellor’s budget last month confirmed that by the end of 2019/20, the MoJ’s day-to-day budget will have fallen by more than third in the decade since 2010/11. At least 1,600 jobs are under threat as much of the work currently done by court and tribunal staff is transferred from courts to new super hub courts and tribunal service centres.
The Ministry of Justice has been the hardest hit department by spending cuts with its budget stripped from £9.3 billion in current prices in 2010/11 to £5.6bn by 2019/20, with £1.5bn owed to the Treasury. More than 5,000 MoJ jobs have been cut and more than 220 courts closed since 2010.
In addition, by March 2023, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) expects to employ 5,000 fewer full-time equivalent staff, reduce the number of cases held in physical courtrooms by 2.4 million a year and reduce annual spending by £265 million.
Undermining access to justice
PCS has repeatedly raised concerns about the impact on staff and access to justice that the plans to close many of the existing courts, the lessening of judicial oversight, reliance on digital solutions and a shift from local justice delivery to just five or six contact centres will have. In July the Public Accounts Committee released a damning report into HMCTS's Courts and Tribunals Reform £1.2 billion modernisation programme, including £30m spent on consultants, stating it had little confidence that it could deliver the programme successfully.
Committee chair Meg Hillier said: “It is difficult to see how these reforms could be called a success if the result is to undermine people’s access to justice and to pile further pressure on the police and other critical public services.
The pressure to deliver quickly and make savings is limiting HMCTS’s ability to consult meaningfully with stakeholders and risks it driving forward changes before it fully understands the impact on users and the justice system more widely.”
The department has 6 months to respond.
Help grow our campaign – share your experience
What are your concerns for the future? We want to hear how the cuts and reforms are affecting you. To share your experience email firstname.lastname@example.org
Use the hashtag #PCSDefendingJustice