HMCTS operational position : weekly summary updates
HMCTS have updated their operational summary for week commencing Monday 29th March 2021.
–Updated: This week we will be opening a Nightingale Court in Bolton, which will provide 2 additional courtrooms for Crown Court work from Bolton Crown Court. A full list of all Nightingale Courts can be found on GOV.UK.
-Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks (FRSMs) are to be supplied to professional users providing legal consultation in custody suites. This is in addition to the existing safety measures already in place. FRSMs will be issued by staff on entry to court custody suites. Our guidance outlines the use of FRSMs and existing safety measures. Wearing of Fluid Resistant Surgical Masks in custody suites. Professional users should also familiarise themselves with this guidance on how to wear and remove face coverings. How to wear and remove your face covering or mask.
–On-site rapid testing will be offered to court users attending scheduled hearings at Leeds Combined Court, Leicester Crown Court, Reading Crown Court and Winchester Combined Court. Rapid testing will also be offered to staff at Northampton County Court Business Centre, which is a back-office site that is not open to the public. We continue to pilot the use of home testing kits among court users. Home testing kits will remain available to collect on-site from Birmingham Crown Court, Croydon Combined Court, Liverpool Combined Court QEII, Snaresbrook Crown Court and Wolverhampton Combined Court. Tests are available to all professional court users, legal professionals, judiciary, contractors, jurors, witness services and staff who attend scheduled hearings at the named sites.
Testing is now also widely available in the community, and we strongly encourage all court users to make use of it. All businesses can register for testing for their employees if they cannot work from home, and we are working hard to expand the availability of on-site and home-test kits for all court users.
-We encourage all court and tribunals users to take part in any Community Testing Programme that is available locally. You can check your local authority website to find out more. In locations where new virus variants have been found the government strongly advises you to take a COVID test, whether you are showing symptoms or not.
–Reminder: We review and update our COVID risk assessments each week and apply any changes needed. You can ask for a copy from your local court. If you have any questions about how the risk assessment meets government guidance or how it’s being followed, you can raise your concerns following our escalation process. Escalation routes for professional users
–Reminder: Court and tribunal users must continue to wear a face covering in all public and communal parts of our buildings. This includes robing rooms. This is in line with Government advice on face coverings (England), Face coverings: guidance for public (Wales) and COVID-19 stage 3: staying safe and protecting others (Scotland). Guidance has also been published to help stop the spread of COVID-19.
Family courts continue to prioritise work as agreed with the President of the Family Division. Work levels are slowly returning to pre-COVID levels and we are working hard to return this to 100%, in a COVID-safe way.