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The Court Reform Programme – progress review

In 2016, HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) set up a portfolio of change programmes that will introduce new technology and working practices to modernise and upgrade the justice system. HMCTS’s reform programme was driven by the need to address complex and inefficient case management systems, and to achieve substantial efficiency savings. The programme covers crime, civil, family and tribunals and several cross-cutting projects.

HMCTS is now in the final phase of the programme, which it expects to complete in 2023, three years later than originally planned. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, HMCTS has had to deal with a rapidly changing operational environment. The impact of the pandemic has also placed increased importance on the programme’s successful completion as an essential part of the Ministry of Justice’s commitment to reduce the backlog in courts.

This study builds on the NAO’s past work on HMCTS’s reform programme, including Early progress in transforming courts and tribunals and Transforming courts and tribunals: a progress update. It will examine HMCTS’s progress in implementing its reform programme since we last reported, including following up on our previous recommendations. The report will examine:

  • the progress HMCTS has made against its plans in the face of changing circumstances;
  • whether HMCTS has planned and rolled out its new digital case management system, Common Platform, effectively; and
  • whether HMCTS is on course to make a smooth transition to business as usual when the reform programme closes.