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
- 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.
- 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".
- The FDA can be found on Twitter @FDA_union. General Secretary Dave Penman tweets as @FDAGenSec.
- FDA National Officer Steven Littlewood’s letter to HMCTS Chief Executive Susan Acland-Hood can be viewed online here.
- For more information contact:
Latest News from
Welsh Government must revise funding to save our museums10/08/2020 12:25:00
The Senedd’s Culture, Welsh Language and Communications Committee has now published its report on the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on heritage, museums and archives in Wales.
Welsh Government must act to ensure national treasures remain accessible to all, says FDA27/07/2020 10:20:00
The FDA has called on the Welsh Government to invest whatever is needed to protect Welsh national treasures and to ensure everyone in Wales continues to have access to their cultural history.
Parliament's restoration and renewal programme 'must not be derailed by political point scoring', says FDA17/07/2020 14:48:00
FDA National Officer for the House of Commons, Helen Kenny yesterday responded to reports that the Prime Minister has asked officials responsible for the restoration and renewal project to consider relocating Parliament to York.
'All we are asking is for the judiciary to follow government guidance'- FDA writes to the Lord Chief Justice14/07/2020 15:38:00
As the recognised union for prosecutors working in the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), the FDA has raised serious concerns with the Lord Chief Justice over the approach taken by some judges to applications from prosecutors to appear in court remotely.
Culture sector rescue package highlights failure of current funding models07/07/2020 12:25:00
The FDA represents staff working in museums and galleries across the UK.
Departure of Sir Mark Sedwill: FDA response29/06/2020 16:20:00
FDA General Secretary Dave Penman yesterday responded to the departure of Cabinet Secretary Sir Mark Sedwill.
FDA welcomes ‘historic moment for House of Commons’ as MPs put trust in independent process24/06/2020 16:20:00
FDA Assistant General Secretary Amy Leversidge yesterday responded to the House of Commons debate on establishing the new Independent Expert Panel to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment against MPs.
Response to DFID and FCO merger17/06/2020 12:25:00
FDA National Officer Allan Sampson yesterday responded to the announcement that the Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) are to merge