People who find it difficult to access online services will receive dedicated help from HMCTS’s new national digital support service.
After running a competitive tender process, We are Digital has been selected to manage a new national service, delivering support across England, Wales (including support in Welsh) and Scotland (for tribunals only). This will begin in October.
HMCTS will invest over £10m across the life of the contract to roll out the service. During the first six months the service will be designed and tested, ramping up to a full national service being in place by spring 2022.
A large part of improving and modernising access to justice involves moving HMCTS services online, but a small number of people find it difficult to access online services. People’s needs vary; they may need support across the end-to-end journey for HMCTS services, or they may need help to complete an online form.
Support will be delivered face to face through community and advice centres, such as Citizens’ Advice and law centres. It will also be available over the phone or via online software, such as Skype. In parallel, staff at Courts and Tribunals Service Centres will continue to deliver lighter-touch digital support over the telephone.
"This is a great service that will help people access the justice services they need and I’m really proud of the work the team have done," said Mike Brazier, Head of Digital Inclusion. "We are grateful to Good Things Foundation for their work on piloting our digital support service and look forward to working with We are Digital to continue our commitment to supporting people who need assistance to use our online services."
Important learning from a successful pilot scheme informed the new national support service. Run byGood Things Foundation, the pilot supported a total of 1,221 people, establishing what our users need to support them with accessing our online services.
Support was delivered through a small network of community and advice centres, helping us understand what a larger national support service would look like. On average, people who used the service rated it as 9.5 out of 10.
James is the Editor of GovX Digital, and has been covering digital government and public sector reform for 20 years. He also oversees the development of the agenda for the UK's biggest public sector transformation conference.