HM Courts & Tribunals Service has announced the creation of a third Midlands service centre as part of the organisation’s £1bn court reform programme.
It said a new centre serving as a base for 200 staff would be created in Loughborough, Leicestershire, from late 2019 to complement new service centres in Stoke-on-Trent and Birmingham that are due to open in January. The three sites will employ a total of “around 1,000” staff.
HMCTS said it expected the new Loughborough base to be fully operational by May 2020, but that justice services could begin moving there by the end of next year to handle cases, manage queries from the public and professionals, and support the judiciary.
The service said that the change programme involved half of its workforce continuing to be based in courts and tribunals to “work hand in hand” with the new service centres.
“Existing HMCTS employees who are affected by the changes will be given priority to apply for roles in service centres and will be supported through the process,” it said.
HMCTS did not say how many existing roles would be placed at risk by the creation of the Loughborough service centre.
Chief executive Susan Acland-Hood said the new centres would transform the offer to HMCTS users, making it easier, quicker and more efficient to access support.
“For HMCTS colleagues, the new service centres will offer the opportunity to work in modern, well designed spaces with support available to develop their skills and expertise in the justice system,” she said.
HMCTS’s portfolio of reforms ultimately seeks to reduce the number of physical court hearings by 2.4 million a year by 2023 and the organisation also wants to directly employ around 5,000 fewer staff.
Last year it outlined plans to consolidate fines-collection services from 50 bases to three new centres – in Leeds, Runcorn and Cwmbran. The PCS union said at the time the move placed 500 jobs at risk.