New National Audit Office report on the court reform programme

Report highlights the scale and complexity of the current changes

The National Audit Office has published a report looking at the current court reform programme, which is intended to deliver significant savings as well as make the system work better for all those involved.

The report recognises the progress made and the recent improvements in governance and programme management, but concludes that HMCTS faces a significant challenge in delivering the scale of technological and cultural change necessary to modernise the court system and achieve the savings required.

Commenting on the report, John Bache JP, National Chairman of the Magistrates Association, said:

'Every day in court magistrates see inefficiencies in the justice system and the impact that they have on all court users. We therefore recognise that reform is necessary and view the current reform programme as a once in a generation opportunity to create a court system that is genuinely fit for purpose.

'This report does, however, highlight the scale and complexity of the current changes and we support its recommendations that time must be taken to involve all those affected, including magistrates, in the process and that greater transparency is required. We welcome recent progress in these areas.

'Magistrates recognise the need for greater efficiency in the court system but the reforms must be compatible with the development of a system of justice that is fair to all parties.'

The MA will respond to the report in more detail in due course.

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