Exodus: Tech top brass bail on £1bn UK courts reform amid concerns project is floundering

Digitisation programme already at 'serious risk' of missing deadline

Exclusive A raft of senior techies working on £1bn project to modernise Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) have stepped down amid concerns the flagship project is floundering.

Kevin Gallagher, director of digital change at HMCTS; Damon Norville deputy director of digital change; John Smith, head of delivery; and Mike Ede, senior IT commercial programme manager, have all left the flagship digitisation scheme in recent months.

The Register understands Dave Perry, chief technology officer at the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, will take Gallagher's post.

Gallagher took the role in 2015 after working as CIO at Brit broadcaster Channel 4 for six years.

An HMCTS spokeswoman said: "These departures are not linked to each other or to delivery of the reform programme, which has hundreds of staff working on it and remains on track."

However, as The Register has exclusively revealed, the project has been beset by a number of major problems.

One of the key aspects of the digitisation plans, the £280m Common Platform Programme – intended to replace existing HMCTS and CPS case management systems with a single platform – has encountered serious delays in particular.

Most recently work on its case management system was halted, the latest in a series of gaffes on a project originally intended to be complete by the end of this year.

Last year the National Audit Office warned HMCTS's plans to slash court staff by 5,000 and chop physical cases held by 2.4 million per year via digitisation are at "serious risk" of not being delivered on time.

"The programme at greatest risk of not achieving its outcome is the Common Platform Programme. It has suffered significant delays in development and delivery," it said.

Other modernisation plans include the £816m HMCTS Reform Programme, which aims to reduce demand on courts by revamping processes and systems, for example, with greater use of online services and video hearings.

There's also the £58m Transforming Compliance and Enforcement Programme (TCEP), which is upgrading the systems used to enforce court orders such as penalties and compensation. ®




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