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Courts Service to launch digital support service


Mark Say Managing Editor

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HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is investing £10 million in a service to support people in obtaining digital access to its services.

It has contracted digital inclusion specialist We are Digital to manage a service, to be launched in October, designed and tested over the next six months and ramped up to a full national service by spring 2022.

It will be available across England and Wales for all courts and in Scotland for tribunals only.

Support will be delivered face-to-face through community and advice centres, and available over the phone or via software such as Skype.

In parallel, staff at HMCTS service centres will deliver light touch support over the telephone.

HMCTS said the service has been piloted by the charity Good Things Foundation, supporting 1,221 people through a small network of community and advice centres. On average, people who used the service rated it at 9.5 out of 10.

Access to justice

Mike Brazier, head of digital inclusion at HMCTS, said: “This is a great service that will help people access the justice services they need and I’m really proud of the work the team have done.

“We are grateful to Good Things Foundation for their work on piloting our digital support service and look forward to working with We are Digital to continue our commitment to supporting people who need assistance to use our online services.”

The report on the Good Things Foundation pilot highlights key findings that include: the majority of appointments were with social security and child support appellants; most users were referred to the service by HMCTS; and remote support has now become embedded into many centres’ delivery models.

The service will be delivered as part of the HMCTS £1 billion modernisation programme and recognises that everybody will want to use digital services or be able to do so.

Over recent years it has rolled out a number of online services including those for divorce applications and family public law.

Image from iStock, fizkes


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