To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of the efficacy of the rollout of new software at probate registries across England and Wales.
2 August 2019
The recent, temporary increase in waiting times was caused by a combination of an increased volume of incoming work and the transition to a new case management system. The move to the new system meant that staff had to spend time being trained and familiarising themselves with it. There were also some initial performance issues which have now been resolved.
At the end of June 2019, 93% of users indicated, from five feedback options, that they were satisfied or very satisfied with the online application service provided.
Urgent action has been taken to address the delays which have been experienced in the probate service. Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) is increasing staffing levels and further improving the digital service to help reduce waiting times.
Official statistics are not published on the average length of time from receipt of the application to the issue of a grant of probate and letters of administration. HMCTS internal management information, which is not subject to the rigorous quality assurance processes of official statistics, has been used to show the following average times from receipt of an application to a grant being issued:
Month and year
Average Weeks to grant issued
These figures do not include cases which are waiting for a grant to be issued. The data from April 2019 to June 2019 have been extracted from the HMCTS Reform Core Case Data system, which is a new system in active development, and may not be directly comparable with figures for earlier periods. All figures, especially those for April 2019 to June 2019, are provisional and subject to revision.
Some grants are experiencing delays of between four and six weeks outside of our targets as a result of significant increases in work during March and April and some technology issues which have now been resolved. We have recruited more staff and are now issuing in excess of 1,000 grants a day, which is bringing waiting times down further.