There are currently more than 23,000 staff that work in the support and administration of the Courts and Tribunals across the UK. The Crown Prosecution Service as the principal prosecuting authority in England and Wales employ around 8400 staff.
Administration plays a crucial part in the day to day running of the Judicial system. Staff work as administrators under a variety of different job titles within a Court, Tribunal or Prosecution service. Court, Tribunal and Prosecution services are part of the wider Justice system which in total employs up to half a million people in Policing and Law Enforcement, Community Justice, Custodial Care and Forensic Science.
The Justice system in general faces a number of challenges to attract more people from Black & Minority Ethnic (BME) groups into the sector and to upskill the existing workforce. However within the Court, Tribunal and Prosecution services the proportion of BME workers is higher than the UK economy as a whole.
Nevertheless there are a number of workforce challenges:
- 20% of the workforce is qualified below Level 2 or does not have any qualifications and amongst this group there is a need to develop literacy and numeracy skills;
- ICT skills are a priority for the sector to cope with the demand for sharing secure information due to the significant increase in communication via email, use of organisation intranets and a general move towards ICT business communication which has affected all sectors over the last two decades;
- A significant number of employers report a decreased number of applicants to Justice sector jobs, especially in those roles not widely understood. Perceptions, by some, of the sector may be limiting the number of applicants;
- People wishing to enter the sector are often unaware of the breadth of opportunity and different roles that the Justice sector offers, as well as the scope of career pathways from these roles, in particular the ways in which they could enter one area of the Justice sector by transferring skills gained in another area of Justice;
- In particular, there is an issue with the sector not reflecting the community it is serving in terms of a more diverse ethnic make-up. Currently, 95% of people working within the Justice sector are white and just over half of the workforce is male;
The vision for the Justice sector is to have a framework of flexible qualifications for all staff which meets the skills priorities for the sector, and which adds value and offers opportunities for career progression and transfer to other roles across the sector.
This framework has therefore been developed with the help of employers to include the new mandatory qualifications for all those working in Court, Tribunal and Prosecution services in order to meet their skills needs and professionalise the service.
Intermediate Level Apprenticeship
The Intermediate Level Apprenticeship framework is of enormous strategic benefit as it will give staff within Her Majesty’s Court & Tribunal Service (HMCTS) and Crown Prosecution Service (CPS), key agencies within the Criminal Justice System (CJS), access to the same vocational qualification. This promotes the transferability of skills across these organisations. The framework will also recognise the subtle differences between legislation that governs these agencies which perform similar functions within the CJS. This is an unprecedented opportunity for professionalising and joining up the delivery of Justice to the public.
The framework at level 2 is aimed at apprentices who work in an administration role within the Court/Tribunal/Prosecution service. Apprentices, who can be both new or existing members of staff, are expected to undertake a variety of duties including extracting files, filing, data-input onto computers, drafting routine letters, photocopying documents and using fax machines. Dealing with members of the public is a key aspect of the role of administrators as well as working as part of a team. Whilst job titles may vary across the different organisations the roles involve similar working practises and responsibilities.
There are two pathways within this framework, Court & Tribunal Administration pathway and Prosecution Administration pathway:
- The Court & Tribunal Administration pathway can be used by anyone who is working in an administrative role within a Court/Tribunal/Prosecution service and focuses more generally on the Civil/Criminal Justice System
- The Prosecution Administration pathway is a more specific pathway for administration staff working within a Prosecution service. This pathway places a greater emphasis on knowledge of the Criminal Prosecution System
Advanced Level Apprenticeship
The Advanced Level Apprenticeship again enables employers to develop staff with transferrable skills that can be redeployed elsewhere in the business as change occurs. The framework at level 3 is aimed at apprentices with some prior knowledge and experience of court and tribunal operations. The types of role that an apprentice will carry out vary greatly depending on the organisation so job titles may vary from those listed. For example someone working within a smaller court may perform a broader range of tasks than someone working in a large court. At Advanced Level apprentices may also have some management responsibilities so the mandatory qualifications will enable the development and assessment of these skills.
The Advanced Level Apprenticeship is for Team Leaders, Clerks of Court and Executive Officers working within courts and tribunals. It will develop the skills needed to perform competently in these roles and the knowledge and understanding of the procedures of the Civil/Criminal Justice System.
This framework will also contribute to meeting the skills priorities for England by:
- Providing flexible access to a high quality level 2/3 skills programme, as a real alternative to academic qualifications, for those who prefer this style of learning and achievement;
- Incorporating skills to improve the levels of general literacy, numeracy and ICT in England;
- Using technical and competence qualifications, valued by employers, to help their businesses grow;
- Developing apprentice’s employability skills, making them more attractive to all employers whichever career they choose;
- Developing apprentices’ Personal Learning and Thinking Skills, to build their confidence and creativity, improving their social and working lives;
- Providing a career pathway into jobs and training at intermediate and higher level, to provide the skills which the economy needs to grow;
- Building on the existing quality learning provision for the Justice sector in England.
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