Thursday 23 February 2012
The unavoidable impression is of a department which is being run on the hoof
Morale is low at the Ministry of Justice and its agencies, with staff expressing little faith in senior managers. And no wonder. In a climate of deep cuts, a bad case of administrative atrophy appears to have set in.
In February alone we have reported on the ‘totally chaotic’ advent of the Salford civil claims centre, while complaints continued to pour in about the mystifying tardiness of the LSC in paying solicitors. Millions are being spent sweeping the tumbleweed from empty courts. And now we have the fiasco of the ‘framework agreement’ for interpreting - recently farmed out to Capita, an outsourcer with a distinctly mixed track record.
The MoJ didn’t see fit to mention when trumpeting the deal that Capita had acquired Applied Language Solutions - a telling omission. Interpreters appalled by ALS’s pay policy may not be placated to learn that Capita’s chief executive has banked remuneration averaging £70,000 a week in recent years. Surely the Petty France spinners ought to have seen this coming. ALS’s own track record has proved equally patchy, after all.
Savings must be made, of course. But given also the recent, snap decisions to postpone landmark legal aid and civil litigation reforms, the unavoidable impression is of a major government department that is being run on the hoof.
It must be an unsettling place to work.