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HM Courts and Tribunals Service is failing to ensure safety, says FDA

As the recognised representatives of prosecutors and managers in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) about its approach to reopening courts across England and Wales.

The union has received disturbing reports of HMCTS being unable or unwilling to share health and safety risk assessments at courts. We have also been informed that HMCTS is not allowing CPS staff, including trade union representatives, to conduct their own independent risk assessments of court buildings prior to them reopening.

The FDA has written to HMCTS Chief Executive Susan Acland-Hood, asking her to urgently address these issues and to ensure that HMCTS is providing local CPS managers and health and safety representatives with the tools they need to protect court users.

FDA National Officer Steven Littlewood said:

“The FDA has been working constructively with the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) on plans to reopen courts but it is extremely concerning that the owner of the courts estate, HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS), is routinely failing to ensure the safety of court users.

“We all understand the need to keep the wheels of justice turning and our members have been working hard throughout the pandemic to ensure this happens – but that cannot be at the expense of people’s safety.

“There are real concerns that in its desperation to deal with a backlog of cases, HMCTS is now rushing to reopen courts without appropriate safety measures in place. The FDA has been clear that if our members do not feel safe, they should leave the court and contact the union immediately.”

Notes for editors

  1. The FDA is the union for senior managers and professionals in public service, representing more than 18,000 members at grades HEO and above. Membership includes senior civil servants, government policy advisors, prosecutors, diplomats, tax professionals, economists, solicitors and other professionals working across the Government and the NHS.
  2. The FDA (formerly the First Division Association) should be referred to simply as "The FDA" and can be described as "the senior public servants' union".
  3. The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.
  4. FDA National Officer Steven Littlewood’s letter to HMCTS Chief Executive Susan Acland-Hood can be viewed online here.
  5. For more information contact: 
  • FDA Communications Officer Tommy Newell on 07738 729 145 or tommy@fda.org.uk
  • FDA Communications Officer Scott Dobson on 07727 869 640 or scott@fda.org.uk
  • FDA Head of Communications Kay Hender on 07980 700 747 or kay@fda.org.uk
Channel website: https://www.fda.org.uk/

Original article link: https://www.fda.org.uk/home/Newsandmedia/Pressreleases/HM-Courts-and-Tribunals-Service-is-failing-to-ensure-safety.aspx

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