Plans to move fines work­ers to Ru­corn site

Runcorn & Widnes Weekly News - - News - BY JOHN McDOUGALL john.mcdougall@trin­i­tymir­ @JMacD1988

STAFF who col­lect crim­i­nal fines could be moved to Hal­ton un­der pro­pos­als which would mean more than 50 bases across the coun­try col­lapse into just three.

The Min­istry Of Jus­tice (MOJ) has an­nounced plans for three cen­tres in Run­corn, Leeds and Cwm­bran in Wales in a bid to make the sys­tem faster and more ef­fec­tive.

An MOJ spokesman said staff who col­lect crim­i­nal fines are cur­rently ‘ham­pered’ by an ICT sys­tem which was cre­ated in 1989 and that they are at present based in more than 50 places.

The spokesman said the new op­er­at­ing model will im­prove ef­fi­ciency, re­duce de­lays and in­crease the amount of fines col­lected.

But the re­struc­tur­ing plans have been met with op­po­si­tion by the Pub­lic And Com­mer­cial Ser­vices Union (PCS) which claims the move could lead to up to 500 job losses across Eng­land and Wales through of­fice clo­sures.

PCS gen­eral sec­re­tary Mark Ser­wotka said: “We are op­posed to work be­ing cen­tralised and our mem­bers’ jobs be­ing put at risk.

“We will, in con­sul­ta­tion with our mem­bers, pro­duce strong cases against of­fice clo­sures which we ex­pect the em­ployer to lis­ten to and act upon.

“Fail­ure to do so will give us no al­ter­na­tive but to ac­tively con­sider all other means to stop the clo­sures in­clud­ing in­dus­trial ac­tion.”

Mean­while the coun­try’s first Courts & Tri­bunals Ser­vice ( HMCTS) Cen­tres which will help trans­form tra­di­tional pa­per-based pro­cesses to mod­ern dig­i­tal sys­tems will be launched in Birm­ing­ham and Stoke-on-Trent.

The two cen­tres will em­ploy more than 300 peo­ple each in roles that range from pro­cess­ing cases, and is­su­ing court orders and hear­ing no­tices, to an­swer­ing tele­phone and web en­quiries.

Jus­tice min­is­ter Do­minic Raab said: “Th­ese new ad­min­is­tra­tive cen­tres will make sure we de­liver bet­ter ser­vices for those us­ing the courts sys­tem, whilst de­liv­er­ing bet­ter bang for the tax­pay­ers’ buck.

“The move is part of our £1bn re­form pro­gramme to digi­tise the jus­tice sys­tem – mak­ing it more sen­si­tive for wit­nesses, more con­ve­nient for other users and bet­ter value for pub­lic money.”

Last year HMCTS dealt with more than 4.1m crim­i­nal, civil, fam­ily and tri­bunal cases.

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