Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Current Affairs

The CPS are shortly to begin their new 'paperless as far as the door of the court' document handling system. I wish them well and hope that the widely expressed fear that this will be just another Government IT fiasco proves to be groundless.

The gossip grapevine tells me that local solicitors are tooling up with the gizmos to allow them to deal with electronic files at court, and the potential savings are tempting.

But there's a snag (that surprised you didn't it?). A well used laptop will often run out of amps and volts within a working day. So, as one would, the lawyers will charge them from a convenient point. Snag? Many court managers refuse to allow stuff to be plugged into an HMCTS socket unless said stuff has been safety tested and bears the appropriate sticker. Even the -wait for it- kettle in our clerks' rest room has to be solemnly checked and have its sticker attached each year. (Thought - since Tescos do a kettle for well under a tenner, isn't that less than the facilities company will charge for the test and the paperwork?) .

I hope and pray that someone in HMCTS will have a Lord Nelson moment and ignore the whole stupid business.


  1. As far as I am aware, the whole "PAT Testing" (yes I know that the 't' itself stands for 'testing') and green stickers is a scam and a pointless waste of money.

    To stop power surges there is a fancy new invention called a "fuse", which does the job.

    And if there is a problem with a particular appliance, the failure mechanism is highly unlikely to involve serious catastrophe.

    And let's say you PAT Test an electric heater, and it gets a green sticker saying it is safe, it is still going to be problematic if you leave it on full in front of a pile of papers all night.

    But why doesn't it surprise me that MOJ / HMCTS / Whatever They're Called This Week would waste money on that?

  2. Then there's the problem about taking a laptop into a prison if it can connect to the Internet and which of them cannot?

  3. 'Elf and safety. It'll be the death of us. The problem is the lack of common sense pervading through society. If there isn't a sign warning of danger then many people are happy to assume that someone else has taken responsibility for their safety. PAT testing is just a symptom.

    Re paperless, 'If it pleases Your Worships, my laptop appears to have crashed...'

  4. I would have throught that if the lawyers' laptops are work laptops they will have been tested anyway. I know allthe ones in our offices are.
    Perhaps a reminder via your local court user group to ask that advocates ensure that their leads have PAT stickers would be in order, to avoid any problems...

  5. A direct quote from this HSE document may help

    "I’ve been told I have to have my desk lamp tested every six months.
    Is this correct?
    No. The law requires it to be maintained. It does not require an elaborate and frequent system of electrical testing."


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