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Courts Service

Volume 482: debated on Tuesday 11 November 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many posts in HM Courts Service there are; and what projection he has made of the number of jobs in the service in 2011. (233752)

As at September 2008 there were 19,474 permanent full-time equivalent on strength members of staff employed by Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS).

It has been clear since the publication of MoJ's CSR07 settlement that the Department and its constituent bodies, including HMCS, would have to cut budgets. The efficiency savings plan for Moj for 2008-09 is currently under way.

We are working up over the next few months the performance and efficiency plan for MoJ and its constituent bodies, including HMCS, to cover 2009-10 and 2010-11.

We expect there to be a reduction in headcount in HMCS parts of MoJ but we expect a large part of that to come from reductions in agency staff and contractors. Exact numbers will only be available once we have completed our planning exercise.

We will aim to match courts’ work better to the changing pattern of demand and do not have any current plans to close courts.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many courts HM Courts Service administers at present; and what projection he has made of the number of courts in operation in 2011. (233751)

As at September 2008 Her Majesty's Courts Service (HMCS) administers 583 courthouse properties. Local justice areas, county court jurisdiction or Crown court determines where the courts sit, and may provide their court services from one or more court properties within their areas.

In the normal course of operation HMCS reviews its property base to match court work better to the changing pattern of demand and efficient provision of justice. We do not have any current plans to close courts although a number of courthouses (properties) may be combined as part of these plans.

There are no property disposals planned over and above that agreed in the CSR07 MoJ Asset Management Strategy These plans form part of the agreed MoJ Asset Management Strategy. For commercial reasons HMCS does not publish details of any proposed changes to individual locations. In any event, any disposals/changes are subject to agreed consultation processes.