Digital support rollout for HMCTS users
The digitisation of HMCTS, a £1bn programme of reform, is being supported by a new national service following an extensive pilot and tender process.
Beginning in October, a £10m investment will see We are Digital manage a new national service, delivering support across England, Wales (including support in Welsh) and Scotland (for tribunals only). During the first six months, the service will be designed and tested, ramping up to a full national service being in place by spring 2022.
According to HMCTS
“A large part of improving and modernising access to justice involves moving HMCTS services online. But we know that a small number of people find it difficult to access online services. People’s needs vary; they may need support across the end-to-end journey for HMCTS services, or they may need help to complete an online form.”
A four stage pilot and implementation programme has been underway since 2017 covering a range of services including Divorce, Probate, and Help With Legal Fees.
Support will be delivered face to face through community and advice centres, such as Citizens’ Advice and law centres. It will also be available over the phone or via online software, such as Skype. In parallel, staff at the Courts and Tribunals Service Centres continue to deliver lighter-touch digital support over the telephone.
Good Things Foundation ran the initial which informs the new national support service. The pilot supported a total of 1,221 people, establishing what users needed to support them with accessing online services.
Support was delivered through a small network of community and advice centres and feedback was positive, with 9.5 out of 10 ratings and comments including “absolutely amazing. They’ve taken the pressure off.”
Mike Brazier, Head of Digital Inclusion, 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.”