The Destruction of the Probate Service?

This rather provocative headline was on top of a recently issued press release from the Public and Commercial Services Union. Their staff are worried about major changes ahead in the probate service. It seems that the Justice Department have in mind replacing local probate offices which can actually deal with enquiries from the public and others with regional call centres which will endeavour to provide the answers. They are known as Courts and Tribunals Service Centres or CTSCs. I do not know whether there will be one near you but, presumably, the actual location does not matter to the architects of this plan.

The Justice Department contend that a “reformed” probate service will be the result of developing “improved digital service”. This no doubt relates to the move to force executors and administrators to apply for probate online.

This digital service also worries the staff, and their union say that recently between 52% and 74% of applications have been stopped owing to issues arising from a digital process that is not yet fit for purpose.
Another concern is the plan to outsource the process of will scanning to a private company whose staff will be tied to profit targets and are not bound by the civil service code. So worried are those in the union that they are forecasting “implosion”.

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