Siobhan Foreman is Napo’s lead for Court work. She is now meeting regularly with the NPS Lead Director for Courts.
Risk assessments should be in place for Courts, including the probation areas in the Court buildings. These should be live documents and can be reviewed at any time, especially with changes to circumstances or fresh concerns. Work is underway to determine maximum capacity for NPS staff returning to work in Courts.
Access to Court entrance and exit is varied and remains an ongoing issue for some NPS Court staff. We have been advised a working group has been set up to address this issue and discussions are ongoing between HMCTS (HM Court and Tribunal Service) & HMPPS. The barriers appear to be the unsuitability and footfall of some Court buildings, however, HMPPS are confident that the issue will be resolved over the coming months and 99% of NPS Court staff will have access to HMCTS staff entrance and exits.
Extended Working Hours/Recovery/ Court EDM
We are told that the HMCTS strategy regarding the backlog of cases will be launched very shortly.
There is a significant backlog of cases and nearly every case is estimated to take 25% longer than previously due to Covid-19.
HMCTS will adopt a 4-Pillar approach by;
- Use of Nightingale Courts which can be set up in other suitable establishments, following appropriate risk assessments.
- Extended operating hours/staggered operating hours with overtime available and weekend working. It has been confirmed this will be on a strictly voluntary basis and payments will be on NNC terms. There is an acknowledgment that there are not enough Court staff to meet the need and discussions are ongoing about how to address this issue. Full consultation with unions regarding this will take place prior to decisions being made.
- Extend use of IT, for example Cloud Video Platform for PSR interviews, remand courts etc.
- Maximise use of Court estate. There are some Courts which are not being used to their full capacity or have been closed and work is ongoing to look at the suitability of opening Court rooms.
If you are a Napo member either managing or working in Courts and have any queries or concerns you would like Siobhan to raise at these meeting please email email@example.com