The Prime Minister’s announcement yesterday evening (5 July 2021) outlined the progress being made for moving to step 4 of the roadmap out of national restrictions. This marks a pivotal point in our recovery, with the planned changes set to return much of life back to how it was before the pandemic.
The planned removal of social distancing measures when it is announced, will enable us all in England to interact more freely with others, and to resume a way of life that feels much more like normal. In Wales, meanwhile, the lifting of COVID restrictions has been paused and will be reviewed again on 15 July 2021. In Scotland, it is hoped the remaining rules will be lifted on 9 August 2021.
Of course, we have not yet seen the end of the global pandemic, nor has the risk of COVID-19 transmission gone and moving to step four does not mean all of the measures and controls we have put in place will disappear. We will continue to meet public health requirements in our buildings. And beyond our own work in HMCTS, the positive progress made on vaccination coverage across the country has obviously been relevant, too, to increasing safeguards and reducing COVID-related risk.
Crucially though, for HMCTS, the end of social distancing in England could remove the single biggest constraint to recovery (space) and free up our ability to deliver services safely, when we start increasing capacity in our buildings, for those who rely upon us. We will, of course, continue to ensure our court and tribunal sites are safe, as we have always done, by complying with government and Public Health guidelines.
Inevitably, you’ll have many questions and we’ll do our best to respond to them with the information available to us, making use of our existing regular meetings and communication channels to update you whenever we can.
Keeping the doors of the justice system open over the past 16 months has required a phenomenal effort, collectively and individually, from HMCTS staff, to the judiciary and legal professionals, our contractors and partners. I know the coming months will also be challenging for us all. As ever, working through this next stage in our recovery will be a joint effort and we will need the same level of energy and vigilance that was necessary when the safety measures were first installed.
I’d like to thank you all for your help through the last 16 months, and for your continued hard work and dedication as we continue our recovery journey.
Kevin Sadler CBE
Acting Chief Executive
HM Courts and Tribunals Service
102 Petty France