Today (Monday 5 July) a new Courts and Tribunals Service Center opens at Salford Quays, Greater Manchester.
Since 2019, we’ve opened service centers in Stoke-on-Trent, Birmingham and Loughborough, handling over a million queries and giving users better access to the information and support they need.
Each center brings together experts under one roof to provide support and advice on cases. They are the first point of call for anyone who wants more information about their case, from legal professionals to users of public courts.
Una Bennett, Director of National Services at HMCTS, is positive about the opening of the new site:
Our new service center for courts and tribunals at Salford Quays will provide a more streamlined and consistent service to our users. Our team will be able to respond to incoming inquiries faster, access specific case details so callers don’t have to explain why they’re contacting us, and provide the right information the first time.
New technologies, new ways of working and modern offices will give staff the tools they need to provide better service to those who need our support and advice.
Service center staff are dedicated to handling queries, making responses more efficient and consistent. Court and tribunal staff, who previously dealt with these applications, will be released to support the public and legal professionals in more complex hearings that take place in person.
The Salford site will house much of our common platform work, including providing specialist support to district courts. Examples of the types of queries that staff at this service center will handle include calls and emails regarding Social Security, child support, probate, and divorce.
The existing service centers have already helped improve efficiency. They provide faster service that is easier to understand and navigate. For example, a digitally completed divorce can now be concluded in an average of 20 weeks from start to finish. If it was done on paper, it would take about 75 weeks.
The Salford service center will also include a digital hub, hosting software and support teams. These teams are responsible for software used in courts, tribunals and service centers, as well as by members of the public. This team’s base in the new service center in Salford will allow for closer collaboration between software developers and the people who actually use the systems.
It is the fourth service center to open as part of HMCTS ‘£ 1 billion reform program, modernizing services since 2016.