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Blow to justice IT upgrade as courts chief quits



Modernisation champion Natalie Ceeney steps down after 16 months in post

The billion pound programme to drag English and Welsh courts into the digital age suffered a blow today with news of the unexpected resignation of the Courts and Tribunals Service's chief executive after 16 months in post. 

Natalie Ceeney, a former management consultant who rose to prominence on the digital government scene as chief executive of National Archives, said in a statement that the digitisation programme had got off to a good start. However "now feels like an appropriate time to hand the baton on to a successor to see through the transformation over the next four to five years".

As chief executive of HM Courts and Tribunals Service, Ceeney has been a strong proponent of 'virtual courts' to deal with preliminary hearings and minor cases.

But her first challenge has been to install basic IT infrastructure, and in her first speech after taking up the post in January 2015 she noted that “systems across our courts and tribunals service are still dependent on paper and large elements of our work remain manual, or done on green-on-black IT, requiring our newly hired graduates to learn, for the first time, how to use an IT system without a mouse or a browser”.

She told Parliament's Public Accounts Committee earlier this year that Wi-Fi had been installed in all criminal courts, but that end-to-end digital links between all parties were under development.

"The approach we’re taking is not to do a big IT system," she said. "We’re doing lots of small things that together over the next four years will improve things. We’re not going to wait four years for it to happen, we’re going to do it incrementally."




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