As lockdown measures continue for another month I write to provide members with updates on various topics.
Please see a message from Paul Harris (not the Paul Harris) from HMCTS Operations setting out the continuation of current policies and urging everyone to keep to current distancing measures. In meetings with HMCTS London I am told the courts are monitoring morning queuing levels which have become a concern. At Wimbledon Magistrates’ the doors will open at 08:30 to all entrants, in case anyone wishes to arrive early and beat the queue.
The LCCSA summer party and social calendar
The PM’s announcement sadly means we cannot now hold a summer party in July as previously advertised, however an Indian variant will lead to an Indian summer party as we now look to hold it in early September instead. More news to follow with dates for your diaries. The uncertainty regarding foreign travel is likely to continue for some time and we have therefore taken the decision not to hold a European conference this year. We hope to see as many old friends as possible at the September party, to toast our members’ resilience during the last 18 months of turmoil.
I have been asked to share the following information by the Contract Management team:
We have been running with a contingency process for Police Station exceptional case claims (CRM18) and Prison Law exceptional case claims (CRM18A) since the beginning of the first lockdown last year. Assessment on these cases using the contingency process is exceptionally limited, and this can no longer be sustained, especially as lockdown is starting to ease. Given this, we will be restarting the CRM18 and CRM18A process on 1st July 21. This will mean that providers will need to revert to sending in a copy of their file with the claim form to allow us to carry out a full assessment. We are aware that providers would prefer the option to send us all claims electronically, and given this, we will be accepting CRM18 claims by e-mail from that date. The file along with the claim form can be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please note that we will not be able to accept CRM18A claims by e-mail as the files are normally much larger. A pilot has shown that CRM18A files submitted electronically take an average of twice as long to assess, and so allowing electronic submission of these claims could have an unacceptable impact on provider cashflow.
We are continually looking to move all of our processes online where possible, and the overwhelming majority of criminal applications and claims are now fully electronic. We have been focussing so far on high volume areas as this will have had the greatest impact on both providers and ourselves. As we are currently receiving approximately 30 Prison Law claims a week it is not an area that we have so far looked at. We do remain committed to moving all processes online, but this will be dependent on making sure that other projects with a much more significant impact such as CLAIR and Common Platform receive priority where necessary.
On the horizon
You will shortly receive news about an LCCSA training event on police bail powers, led by former committee member Matthew Hardcastle taking place on 23rd June. A very important and current topic affecting our daily practice, to an ever increasing extent. On that same date I will be meeting with the lead for the National Police Chiefs’ Council to discuss remote police station advice, for now v3 of the JIIP remains in place. More to follow.