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Thursday, 23 October 2014

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Court staff face possible job cuts

STAFF at Whitehaven’s county and magistrates courts could face possible job cuts as a result of the court closures.

Around 70 jobs nationally could be lost but Her Majesty’s Court Service (HMCS) is hoping there will be a reduction in staff through “natural wastage”.

However, it has said it will consider a voluntary redundancy package “if required”. It is not known at this stage what impact this will have on staff at the two Whitehaven courts.

Currently, an internal consultation is taking place with staff who may be affected by the upcoming changes.

The move comes after the Government’s decision to close 93 magistrates courts and 49 county courts in England and Wales. Altogether, there are around 700 staff at the closing courts and it is expected 70 staff from around the country could lose their jobs.

A HMCS spokesperson said: “As part of the £41.5m total savings, we currently estimate staff savings of £6.5m, based on indications of what duplication of work there will be at closing and receiving courts.

“This estimation represents 10 per cent of staff, so around 70 staff. However, we hope to make any reduction in staff through natural wastage and will consider a voluntary redundancy package if required.”

An internal consultation is currently taking place. This Management of Organisational Change Framework (MOCF) will look at what impacts the court closures will have on staff.

The spokesperson added: “We will commence a people plan in January 2011, working with trades unions and staff to look at staff impacts across all major programmes.

“After the MOCF consultation has concluded, we hope to implement a phased approach to closures from April 2011, and expect that the first tranche of court closures will be those with no permanent staff.”

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