The Autumn Spending Review contained news for all of us who deal with Employment Tribunals and courts – though we are a little bemused by the following sequence of statements:
“The Treasury has agreed a one-off package of investment averaging up to £75m per annum over the five years from 2015/16 which will be used to deliver more efficient and effective courts and tribunals administration for all users and deliver significant savings. Technology will be updated and replaced in courts and tribunals across the country…..”
The Secretary of State for Justice on 28 March 2014.
“We can only provide better access to justice if we take difficult decisions to reduce the cost of our estate and reinvest the savings. As the Secretary of State told Parliament on 23 June, this means “a significant number of additional courts will have to close.” ”
The Under-Secretary of State for Courts and Legal Aid on 16 July 2015 proposing the closure of 91 courts and tribunals.
“The disposal value of all freehold buildings listed for closure has been estimated at £35m for the preferred option.” There’ll also be savings in operating and staff costs of £106m over the five years 2015/16 – 2019/20.
The Impact assessment by the Ministry of Justice on the proposed closure of 91 courts and tribunals.
“Under used courts will be closed, and I can announce today the money saved will be used to fund a £700 million investment in new technology that will bring further and permanent long-term savings…”
The Chancellor of the Exchequer on 25 November 2015.
So last years one-off investment of up to £75m over five years seems to have delivered savings of £141m leaving us with fewer courts, tribunals and administrators (and presumably fewer judges). Let’s hope the latest investment in new technology will leave us with a better service.