Common Platform Update to Barristers – 23.10.23
Crime Reform update from Daniel Flury, Crime Programme Director at HM Courts and Tribunals Service
Having recently stepped into the role of Director Crime Programme Director at HM Courts and Tribunals Service, I was keen to introduce myself to you as members of the Bar and take the opportunity to briefly update you on reforms to the criminal courts, focusing on what’s most relevant to criminal barristers.
I know some of you may feel that you haven’t had very much detail from us in recent months, and I acknowledge that this may have felt frustrating. While this is largely because we’ve been primarily focused on developments in the magistrates’ court, I’m committed to improving the frequency of communications we have with you about our work I intend for this brief message to pave the way for more regular, tailored updates.
We’re currently reviewing our delivery plans for the coming months, and I expect to be able to communicate more soon about the technical enhancements we’ll be introducing, and timescales for these.
In July we completed national rollout of the Common Platform criminal case management system for use in every criminal court across England and Wales. The number of cases managed on the system has been steadily rising, and I’m pleased to confirm that earlier this month we passed the milestone of accepting more than half a million cases onto Common Platform.
In particular, numbers of cases in the Crown Court being managed on Common Platform continue to grow. Our internal management information shows more than 80% of cases entering the Crown Court are now on the platform, and this percentage has been increasing month on month. We’re also seeing efficiencies in the rate hearing results are uploaded and shared – in August, for example, over 90% of cases were resulted and shared within 1 day of completion, compared to around 60% on the legacy system, enabling quicker notifications for all parties.
Improvements to Common Platform for defence
Over the past few months, we’ve made various improvements to Common Platform which make it more user-friendly for defence barristers. These include:
- a quicker and easier check-in process for court hearings – you can now use the same screen to check-in as prosecution or defence for each hearing you’re attending, ensuring the Legal Aid Agency is made aware
- easier switching between cases for defendants you’re registered as representing
- details on all defendants you’re representing in a multi-defendant case in the same place
- making it possible to search for case details using a defendant’s name, date of birth and hearing date instead of requiring the unique reference number
- easier access to the Preparation for Effective Trial (PET) and Better Case Management (BCM) forms when first associating with a case
You can read our guidance to find out more about using Common Platform effectively.
Keeping your Common Platform account active
Because of the sensitivity of some of the information held on Common Platform, our security protocols mean that user accounts need to be deregistered if they are inactive for 90 days. You will receive an alert email before this happens, and all you need to do to keep your account active is to login.
Checking in for hearings will keep your account active, and also ensure that the Legal Aid Agency is made aware for payment purposes.
If you do find that your account has been deregistered, your organisation administrator can reinstate it for you. They can also help with other account management matters, such as registering a new mobile phone to use for 2-factor authentication.
If you have any problems activating or re-registering your account, please do get in touch with us at [email protected], and we’ll address your problem as quickly as possible.
Keeping in touch
If you have questions or feedback about crime reform, or Common Platform more specifically, please use [email protected] to contact us.
I look forward to writing to you all again soon, and in the meantime, wish you all the best.