Costing and availability of specialised seating for jurors,cost of by 9vWWu0

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Our Reference: 73643                                           December 2011


                        Freedom of Information Request


You asked for the following information I have numbered the questions for ease of
response.


   1. Any information held by Southwark Crown Court, or by HMCTS,
      discussing, or relating to, the nature, form, costing and availability of
      specialised seating for jury members – including any information
      relating to the official procedure used when receiving requests for
      adapted facilities, including disabled facilities, during the conduct of
      cases.

   2. Any information regarding the cost, provision and nature of furniture
      more generally in Southwark Crown Court, broken down by public areas
      / private areas if possible.

   3. Any information currently held relating to the provision, availability,
      maintenance and use of cycle, car, and motorcycle parking facilities at
      Southwark Crown Court, including access rules, numbers, and
      occupancy levels.

   4. Detail of the number of criminal incidents that were recorded on the
      premises of Southwark Crown Court during the past ten years, broken
      down by category to the best extent possible (and specifically including,
      if the data is available, crimes associated with the theft of, or damage to,
      pedal cycles)

   5. Any information relating to the cost, scope and reliability of CCTV within
      the premises of Southwark Crown Court, and detail of the number of
      operators, tender process to select operators, and hours operated.

   6. Any information relating to the availability of public network access
      within Southwark Crown Court.

   7. Any documentation related to the use of public computing facilities at
      the Court by jury members, including but not restricted to the use of
      wireless network facilities.

Your request has been passed to me because I have responsibility for answering
requests relating to Her Majesty’s Courts & Tribunals Service (HMCTS) in London
and is being handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000.
                                 UNCLASSIFIED
I can confirm that the department holds some of the information that you have asked
for, and I am pleased to provide this to you. I have answered your questions
numerically as above.

1. In lieu with the Equality Act 2010, the Crown Courts must try to accommodate
   potential jurors who require special arrangements. By completing Part 4 of the
   Jury Summons form, jurors can explain their circumstances and make the
   Summoning Bureau aware of what requirements they have. This information is
   recorded and distributed electronically to the Crown Courts; the juror is contacted
   to find out his needs and possible pre court visit.

   Specifically in relation to Southwark Crown Court, in three court rooms the facility
   to remove a chair from the jury row is available; this will enable a free standing
   compliant chair to be put in place to accommodate the needs of a juror.

2. The cost information is not available as most maintenance is covered under the
   'Reactive Maintenance Term Contract', which is for the entire HMCTS London
   Region. Furniture renewals after the initial provisioning when the court opened
   would have been undertaken as part of wider 'internal refurbishment' works and
   would not be separately identifiable.

   The furniture in the public areas of the court is mainly made up of seats in blocks
   of four and free standing casual chairs. In the jury assembly area the seating is
   all fixed, the seating within this area consists of tables and seats which are also
   fixed.

3. The court has its own car park which is covered by a security guard during the
   hours the court is occupied. A cycle space would be available with prior consent
   for the use of leaving a jurors bicycle while attending jury service. There are
   approximately 50 car parking spaces which are usually 50% occupied.

4. No incidents have been reported to the court relating to the theft of any bicycles
   located in the car park at Southwark Crown Court over the last ten years or of
   criminal damage.

5. In relation to CCTV the cost information is not available as the maintenance is
   covered under the 'Reactive Maintenance Term Contract', which is for the entire
   HMCTS London Region. The installation would have been undertaken as part of
   wider 'building works' and would not be separately identifiable.

   Regarding the scope, reliability and hours operated of the CCTV, I can confirm
   that the department holds information that you have asked for, but in this case we
   will not be providing it to you as it is exempt from disclosure.

   We are not obliged to provide information if its release would be likely to
   endanger the health and safety of an individual. In this case, we believe that
   releasing the information would be likely to endanger the safety of any individual l
   (section 38sub section 1(b) of the Act).

   In line with the terms of this exemption in the Freedom of Information Act, we
   have also considered whether it would be in the public interest for us to provide
   you with the information, despite the exemption being applicable. In this case, we
   have concluded that the public interest favours withholding the information.



                                  UNCLASSIFIED
   You can find out more about Section 38 by reading the full text of the Act,
   available at http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2000/36/section/38 and further
   guidance http://www.justice.gov.uk/guidance/foi-exemptions-guidance.htm.

   When assessing whether or not it was in the public interest to disclose the
   information to you, we took into account the following factors:

   Public interest considerations favouring disclosure
    Awareness of the safety and security systems in place at the court may
      provide assurance to court users that they are in a safe environment at a time
      when they are feeling vulnerable.

   Public interest considerations favouring withholding the information
    There is a duty to provide a safe environment for court users which would be
      compromised by releasing these details.
    The possibility of violence is something which HMCTS take very seriously,
      knowledge about the workings of the CCTV cameras has a potential to
      expose jurors, witnesses, defendants and witnesses to harassment or violent
      behaviour.
    The disclosure of the information requested would weaken any guarantees of
      safety which are necessary part of jury service
    Disclosure would be likely to affect the maintenance of good order in the court
      as it may enable individuals to ascertain how we instigate safety and security
      in the courts. Knowledge could potentially allow someone to infiltrate this thus
      risking the safety of officials and the public in the Court.


   We reached the view that, on balance, the public interest is better served by
   withholding this information under Section 38 1 (b) of the Act at this time.

6. Southwark has BT Open Zone in both the public restaurant and jury assembly
   area there is charge for this service. There is also internet access in the jury
   assembly area which there is also a charge for. Further details about access to
   facilities at Southwark Crown Court are available on the Internet, please see the
   link below.
   http://hmctscourtfinder.justice.gov.uk/HMCTS/CourtAccess.do?court_id=557

7. As above.

I have contacted the court regarding your complaint that they have not replied to your
previous enquiry for which no date is given. They have confirmed that the jury
manager's mailbox was not accessible for a short time and there was also a change
of personnel. Without the details of the original e-mail it is hard to say whether this
fell within that period. I apologise that this explanation was not supplied previously to
you.

Additionally, the jury summons form does not threaten a juror with a £1000 fine if the
form is not returned within seven days. It is only a possibility if the form is not
returned at all.




                                   UNCLASSIFIED

								
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