Our interview with the head of the Court Service last week prompted these responses ...

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The Independent Online
Dear Sir

I was disappointed that your article on the Court Service failed to address some of the fundamental principles raised by the Private Finance Initiative being used to finance new computer systems for the courts. Especially as there has been considerable media coverage recently over the decision by union members working in the Court Service to take strike action against management's proposals to offer the administrative support work in the courts to the private contractors who will be taking on the computer work. This strike was only called off when management backed down and agreed to keep these jobs within the Civil Service.

There is still industrial action in the Court Service, however, as a result of the PFI since union members working at the Court Service headquarters who operate the existing computer systems are on strike to try to prevent their jobs being privatised and handed over to multinational computer giants who will develop and operate the new computer systems. Not only are these union members concerned about their future job security and career prospects, they are also raising the far wider issue of the integrity and independence of the courts. We firmly believe that the courts are not an area for privatisation but should remain entirely within the public sector.

Yours sincerely

BRIAN STURTEVANT

National Officer for the Lord Chancellor's Department of the CPSA

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