The Proof December Scottish Court Service

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					                                  The Proof
                                  The quarterly newsletter
                                  of the Offices of the Court of Session

                                  December 2007

                                    Co urt o f Se ssio n, Pa r li a m e n t H ou se , Pa r li am en t Sq u a r e , Ed i n b u r gh , EH 1 1 R Q
                                     T e le p h on e : 0 1 31 2 2 5 2 5 9 5 – e m a i l: of f i ce sof c ou r t@sc ot c ou r t s. g ov . u k

                                      “This is what you said …. ”
                                       Feedback from the Court of Session survey

                                                                     GREAT NEWS!
1    “This is what you said”                                     You are more satisfied than ever!

3    Productions                         Overall customer satisfaction with the Offices of Court is up from
                                         89% to a whopping 94%.
4    Business Planning in the 
     Court of Session 
                                         The results are staggering …

5    The Future – Year 2107                   ·    The overall satisfaction with the General Dept is 96% ‐ up
                                                   from 87% at the last survey (in 2005)
7    Court Motions Team 
                                              ·    Keepers Office recorded 97% satisfaction
8    Offices of Court Report –                ·    Petitions recorded 99% satisfaction
     November 2007                            ·    Extracts recorded 100% satisfaction ‐ up from 95%. Who
9    Court of Session Targets 
                                                   said perfection was impossible???

9    The Proof goes on­line              Just over 3 years ago we surveyed customers with the same
                                         questions and same scoring mechanism and we scored in the 80%s.
10 Telephone contact details 
11  What do you think?                   Most telling sometimes are the comments made by agents on how
                                         we can improve. This year as in previous years we will discuss
                                         improvements with the Court Users Liaison Group, made up of
                                         Court Managers and our Customers representatives, when we meet
                                         in January ‘08.

                                                                                                                       Continued over
   The Proof                                                                          Page 2

Waiting areas were highlighted in many comments with customers registering their slight
dissatisfaction with having to wait outside the Keepers Office or having to wait in the General
Dept where there are too few chairs and tables at really busy times. Reading material in the
waiting area got some attention and appears to be out of date and not covering a wide
                          The quarterly newsletter
spectrum of interests.                                                      December 2007
                          of the Offices of the Court of Session
There were some comments about how intimidating the office can be when full of customers
and how customers appear to congregate in “social groups” which can make others feel
excluded. One respondent went further suggesting that some staff give better service for

It was suggested that the offices should open at 10am on a Monday following staff training.

It was also requested that ALL staff wear their name badges to enable those who visit
infrequently to know who they are being served by.

An interesting comment is that phones should take second place to customers who call in to
the Offices in person. This suggests that we might need to reconsider our target of trying to
answer the phone within 30 seconds?!

A customer felt that counter staff sometimes continue conversations when they should be

There was a comment that a customer can wait “an inordinate amount of time to be served
in petitions”. However, having checked the queuing times for the various counters, the
Petitions Dept serves customers in an average of 5 minutes, whereas it is nearer 9 minutes for
the General Dept.

It is especially pleasing that the complaints procedure is known about but has not been used
by customers, supporting the generally high level of satisfaction

We achieved a return rate of 12% which, whilst down on last year, does demonstrate a higher
than average return rate for this kind of exercise. It should be noted that this year we had no
online survey form available, only hard copy questionnaires distributed within the Proof.

All in all the survey shows increased customer satisfaction and reflects what the Charter Mark
assessors found when they have visited. The Offices of the Court of Session are a committed
to delivering ever improving standards of customer service.
The Proof                                                                               Page 3


     The Offices of Court currently have something in the region of 3,500 active
     cases. As you are aware space is always at a premium and the storage and
     management of productions is a constant battle. It is with this in mind that we
     seek your assistance in managing productions.

            If you wish to borrow productions please do so at the counter. This will
            ensure that the correct productions are removed and that a legible
            receipt is written for them.

            If a joint minute is lodged in a case it would be helpful if agents could
            uplift productions at the same time.

            If you are asked to uplift productions we do understand that this may be
            difficult if they are bulky. However, arrangements should be made to
            have the productions uplifted within 48 hours.

     PLEASE NOTE: The next meeting of the Court Users Liaison Group is on
     16 January at 4pm.

     If you have any matters you wish to raise please contact
     one of the customer representatives or email with
     your question/query etc and I will raise the matter and come back to you
 The Proof                                                                           Page 4

Business Planning in the Court of Session

Successful business planning is important ‐ it’s how we make sure that we focus
on the right things and use our resources efficiently.

Business planning is generally driven from the top of an organisation. However
last year a decision was taken to capture staff opinion more effectively from
across the Supreme Courts. As a result four departmental business planning
workshops were held during October and November.

Before looking forward it’s good to look back and so each session started with the
manager reminding everyone of their achievements over the past few months of
business. The managers were then asked to retreat to allow free and open group

During this time each group carefully considered what we should concentrate our
efforts on and produced draft objectives. These were presented to the managers
on their return at the end of the workshop.

These draft objectives helped form the basis of the Supreme Courts business
planning workshop which took place mid‐December. The outcome of this
workshop will be used to form our business plan for the 2008/2009 business year.

Of course, preparing the business plan is only the first step. Plans are useless
without hard work. Over the next business year you will see us working together
to meet our objectives and provide all our customers with an efficient and
effective service.
  The Proof                                                             Page 5

THE FUTURE: Year 2107
Earth climate 6C hotter than 2007
“Billions of people across the planet suffering the complications of
thirst and malnutrition, much of Australia to be pronounced
uninhabitable, much of Spain, Italy and Greece turning to desert,
more than half of wildlife species to become extinct and as the
Greenland ice cap continues to melt, global sea levels will rise by
up to 22ft. Arctic summer sea ice gone!”

This is what scientists predict the potential impact on the planet
will be if we continue with the use of carbon rich energy sources.

What are we doing in Parliament House?

It is important that we do all we can to limit these effects. Here in
Parliament House we re‐cycle as much as possible. This includes ‐

      Our light bulbs and florescent tubes. These are collected and
      disposed of by a specialist company.
      Printer cartridges. All cartridges are sent for recycling. The
      cartridge recycling boxes is located in the Administration
      Excess and out of date Yellow Pages.

Can we do more?

Here are some of our plans for the future ‐

      Our Accommodation team will liaise closely with the onsite
      maintenance personnel to ensure the most energy efficient
      light bulbs and tubes are being used. At the moment these
      are being used where possible.
      The use of portable fan heaters in the building has
      significant energy implication and so we must find a middle
      ground between staff comfort and energy consumption.
      Our Accommodation team will review the cost and waste
      saving implications and research suitable alternatives as to
      the use of paper hand towels.
      All paper waste including newspapers to be recycled.
      Our Accommodation team will contact our IT department
      about the disposal or re‐use of all old IT equipment.
      We will review the use and suitability of recycled paper,
      envelopes and other stationery items.
    The Proof                                                                       Page 6

Do a little and change a lot

There are measures we all can take – at work and at home.

 Waste reduction and recycling measures           Energy conservation methods

    ·   Only print what you really need.            ·   Use energy saving light bulbs and
    ·   Set your printer to print double sided.         tubes.
    ·   Recycle printer/ toner cartridges.          ·   Switch off all equipment overnight.
    ·   Use recycled paper and envelopes.               Standby still uses 70% of power.
    ·   Use re‐usable cups instead of plastic       ·   Switch off PCs over lunch or when not
        ones.                                           in use for a period of time. Just
    ·   Re‐use files & dividers.                        turning off a PC monitor will save
    ·   Re‐use packaging, for example,                  power.
        cardboard boxes and padded envelopes.       ·   Switch off desk lamps when not in
    ·   Cancel any out of date or unsolicited           use.
        mail, publications or brochures.            ·   Switch off lights in rooms not in use;
    ·   Re‐use scrap paper for note paper.              this is especially important for areas
    ·   Replace paper hand towels in toilets.           like storage rooms.
    ·   Ensure old IT equipment is either           ·   Restrict the use of portable heaters.
        disposed of correctly or given to a         ·   Only fill the kettle for required
        computer re‐use initiative                      amount.
The Proof                                                                                     Page 7

            The Redesigned Pilot Scheme has been transferred from the Service Delivery
            Unit to the Court Motions Team (a.k.a CMT) who are now operational.

            The team consists of the Depute in Charge Yvonne Anderson and Motions Clerks
            Susan Brodie and Grahame Simpson. They are currently based on Level‐1 in
            Parliament House.

            The CMT currently deal with 14.7% volume of unstarred motions generated by
            the participating agents to the scheme. The team are enjoying this volume
            while it lasts and are being encouraged to use annual leave. Once the scheme is
            on full roll out this volume will rise to about 85% of all unstarred motions (the
            exceptions to the scheme being commercial cases and petitions).

            The participating agents currently are Biggart Baillie, Brodies, Digby Brown,
            Simpson & Marwick and Thompsons.

            But it is not only unstarred motions the CMT deal with! See the following list:

                   Evaluation and Recording of the Redesign Motions Scheme (which is stat‐
                   Death of a Party Applications – Rule of Court 31.3;
                   Personal Injury Relatives Claim – Rule of Court 43.20;
                   Vulnerable Witness Applications – Rule of Court 35A.

            On Friday 21 September 2007 a workshop was held with the participating agents
            and CMT. This was to consider issues such as observations on the operation of
            the new scheme and practicalities and how to roll the pilot scheme out to all
            users. No confirmed date for full roll out has been decided as yet so it still
            holds its Coming Soon status!

            The Lord President has approved the roll‐out of the scheme and changes to the
            Rules of Court are currently being drafted to support transformations in
            practice and procedure. A consultation notice was also placed on our website
            and on the website of the Law Society asking for views on whether e‐mail
            should be mandatory for professional court users. There has been no response
            which we are taking as a positive sign of a willingness to conduct business

            Communication about the changes in practice and procedure will be rolled out
            to users of the Offices of the Court of Session in due course. This will give
            essential guidelines and as much support as is needed for all our customers.

            In the meantime if any agents have questions or queries about the CMT
            feel free to ask any member of the team as our door is always open.
     The Proof                                                                 Page 8

Offices of Court Report – November 2007
1.    Management Information & Workload

                           Nov 06                     Nov 07

Petitions lodged           305                        272

                           (of which 159 are Seq)     (of which 147 are Seq)

Summonses lodged           265                        319

                           (186 PI)                   (245 PI)
                           (70 Ord)                   (57 Ord)
                           (3 Family)                 (6 Family)
                           (6 Commercial)             (11 Commercial)

Appeals lodged             23                         16

Total Actions              593                        607

Waiting period for PI Proofs stands at 10 months (from date defences lodged).
We are currently allocating for 21 October 2008.

Civil Jury Trials now 4 per week. First available date for a Jury Trial is
27 January 2009.
  The Proof                                                                           Page 9

Court of Session Targets


      To process summonses, petitions and appeals from inferior courts within one working
      day of their acceptance
      To notify solicitors of returned citations on the date of their receipt
      To notify solicitor of custody reports on the date of their receipt
      To issue (a) all extract decrees of divorce on the first working day it would be
      competent to do so; (b) all other extract decrees within five working days of the
      To secure accurate and timeous publication of the Rolls of Court and to deliver to
      practitioners in Edinburgh, the weekly and daily Rolls of Court on the day of
      To hear Civil Appeals on the Summar Roll within 18 term weeks
      To hear ordinary proofs and jury trial within 19 term weeks of the allowance of the

The Proof Goes On­line

The Proof is now being published on the Scottish Court Service internet
site – If you
previously received The Proof by e‐mail we will now send you a link to
the site instead.

The main benefit of this approach is that we will reduce the impact of
sending you a large document by e‐mail. You will also be able to access
previous editions of The Proof without having to keep the e‐mail or
download the document.

We have also changed the look of The Proof. What do you think? We’d
love to hear from you. Please contact
with any comments ‐ or if you want to switch from receiving hard copies
of The Proof to the on‐line version.
    The Proof                                                                         Page 10

Telephone contact details

Offices of Court
All numbers should be preceded with (0131) 240

Depute in Charge                 6740

General Dept
Office Manager                   6744

Section Manager A‐D & E‐L        6745
Section Manager M‐Q & R‐Z        6741

Section A‐D                      6743
Section E‐L                      6745
Section M‐Q                      6741
Section R‐Z                      6741

Personal Injury Desk             6742

Petitions                        6747

Extracts                         6748

Sequestrations                    6853*
*This number is for all sequestrations initiated by H.M.R.C. (Her Majesty's Revenue and
Customs). All other sequestrations should contact the petitions dept.

Keeper of the Rolls Office
Keeper of the Rolls              6736
Assistant Keeper                 6737
Fixing Desk                      6738
  The Proof                                                                           Page 11

What do you think?
The Offices of the Court of Session continually seek to improve the service and choice for its
customers and partners. In order to improve the quality of information we provide about our
performance we would like to offer you the opportunity to comment on the content of this
document. Please read the following questions and pass your views and comments to us by fax,
email or letter using the details given below:

1. How well did you understand the contents of this report?

2. How well does this information meet your needs?

3. Did it cover aspects which you are interested in or you feel are relevant?

4. What other relevant issues or information do you feel you should be included or covered in
   the next quarter’s issue?

Send your answers to:

J. Curtis
Court of Session
Level –1
Parliament House
Parliament Square


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