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BSE divorce centre brings back bulletin after blackout

Date:27 JUN 2018
Collaborative lawyer & Family law arbitrator
On 21 June, the divorce centre for London & the South East at Bury St Edmunds (BSE) ‘on demand’ information bulletin was effectively closed down. The daily backlog information was replaced with the message:

'The information on this auto response is currently under development. An updated version will appear soon.'
The daily bulletin, introduced by HMCTS as a result of suggestions made at a Law Society event on divorce centres, was intended to show the work position at the divorce centre and provides general information to assist practitioners. The intention was to enable solicitors and others to assess when work sent to the divorce centre will be processed, and reduce the need to telephone or write for progress updates.
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Having already written to the Courts’ Service CEO, Susan Acland-Hood about the delays, I asked why the bulletin had been replaced with an effective blackout. I received this reply on 26 June:

'Dear Mr Roe
Thank you for taking the time to write to Susan regarding the daily bulletin. As the senior leader responsible for the operation of our divorce centres she has passed your email on to me and I wanted to respond personally. I am glad that the bulletin is useful to you and your colleagues and want to reassure that we have every intention of reintroducing it within the next few days. After reviewing some of the content (sic) on Thursday, I asked the team to stop sending it temporarily in order for some improvements to be made. These were principally around ensuring we provided some more information on when we expected certain work queues to improve and to also provide some more information as to overall timeliness impacts.
Taking on board your feedback, I’ve asked the team to put a message back up today (although it may be tomorrow when it takes effect) and we will replace it with an improved message shortly.
I hope this reassures and please do get in touch if you have any further queries
Kind regards
Jonathan Wood
National Services Director

This morning the following message appeared on the bulletin:


27.06.18 at 08:50am

If you need to contact us via email please write to divorceunitbse@hmcts.gsi.gov.uk and where possible include your case number and name in the subject line.
You can also contact us via telephone on 0300 303 0642 between 8.30am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Our current work position is
  • We are currently processing petitions received on 12th June 2018
  • We are currently processing Acknowledgement of Service received on 22nd May 2018
  • We are currently processing applications for Decree Nisi received on 22nd May 2018
  • We are currently processing correspondence and emails received on 2nd May 2018
  • We are currently processing Form A's received on 4th June 2018
  • We are currently processing Consent order applications received on 4th June 2018
  • We are currently processing Decree Absolutes received on the day of receipt
  • The Judiciary are currently processing applications for Decree Nisi received on 2nd May 2018

We are sorry for the length of time we are taking to do some things at the moment, and know it is frustrating. We know this needs to improve, and we are working hard to reduce the timescales. To help us, please do not send us duplicate requests, or send hard copies of your emails to the court, as these add to our work and make us slower. We will provide a fuller update shortly on how this is improving and when we expect our work to be back on track.