HM Courts and Tribunals Service: Coronavirus

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 12th February 2021.

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Photo of Rachel Hopkins Rachel Hopkins Labour, Luton South

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what discussions he has had with trade unions representing Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service staff on risk assessments and safety measures implemented in Government buildings.

Photo of Chris Philp Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

HMCTS is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all staff, members of the judiciary and visitors to its sites, as far as it is reasonably practical whilst they are on the premises. From the outset of this public health crisis, HMCTS officials have engaged at a national level with the Departmental Trade Union Side, consulting on policies and processes necessary to make the court and tribunal estate safe, and so to maintain access to justice. This collaboration, alongside that with Public Health agencies, representatives of those using the system and others, has helped HMCTS to ensure its ways of working are as effective as they can be.

The Corporate HMCTS H&S statement of intent confirms that ‘There will be active communication and consultation between employees, Trade Union Side (TUS), judiciary, contractors and other stakeholders in respect of security, health and safety procedures and responsibilities.

Since the first lockdown in March 2020, HMCTS officials have maintained regular meetings and consultation with Departmental Trade Union Side in specific business areas including Human Resources, Operations, Health & Safety and Security, in addition to bespoke or specific consultation such as the Risk assessment tools.

The HMCTS risk assessment tools were developed and reviewed by HMCTS officials in consultation with Departmental Trade Union Side, following a workshop style approach over a period of 4 months from May 2020 to September 2020. The tool is issued to each HMCTS site with instruction that it should be, wherever possible, completed in conjunction and consultation with a Trade Union health and safety representative. I understand that wherever possible our officials did conduct those assessments with trade union colleagues and continue to do so as the assessment tools are reviewed regularly.

In addition to this, HMCTS regional Delivery Directors hold regular meetings with regional TU reps, where safety and security matters are raised and discussed.

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