HM Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) has issued an update on how it is helping local authorities to support vulnerable children, particularly in regard to the workings of its Family Public Law digital service. Since March 2020, HMCTS has ‘researched and improved how the case management order process should work’ with local authorities commenting that the improved process ‘is very quick and easy’. Improvements have also been made to the way local authorities complete the C110a digital application form—they can now ‘review a draft of their application as a pdf at any point in the drafting process. Each section of the form has flags to indicate progress which makes collaborative working between local authority solicitors easier’.
In addition, following HMCTS’ work to move ‘public law work across 3 family courts in Swansea, Cardiff and Liverpool to a centralised team based in Stoke’, it will now begin a national roll-out whereby ‘remaining courts, local authorities, legal representative firms and the Judiciary will be onboarded to the digital service in a phased approach’. Users will be contacted with all the information they need to begin using the new service including online guidance and training materials. A webinar is also being planned where legal firms specialising in public law can learn more about the benefits of the service and sign up. Webinars will be advertised on HMCTS' reform events page and on its weekly stakeholder bulletin.