SCYJ has submitted written evidence to the Public Accounts Committee Transforming Courts and Tribunals inquiry. The inquiry aims to address the findings of a recent National Audit Office report that found the scale of proposed changes to HMCTS present a challenge, and HMCTS has so far made less progress than it original planned, with costs increasing whilst benefits have decreased.
SCYJ has concerns that there has been a general lack of consideration of the distinct needs of children in the HMCTS Reform Programme, and the impact reforms may have on children’s rights and justice outcomes. This is likely to impact on projected costs and benefits.
SCYJ believes the reforms are unlikely to produce significant cost savings, and will reduce the service available to vulnerable users, threatening access to justice.
Our response focuses on the HMCTS Reform Programme in the criminal courts, especially on the use of video links and online pleas with child defendants (under the age of 18).