Changes to District Courts structure

A new District Court management structure took effect on Monday 22 April 2013. The changes follow consultation last year between the Ministry of Justice and its staff and stakeholders, which continued in February with regard to Auckland criminal jurisdiction changes.

The Ministry has asked ADLS to circulate the following information to its members.

The changes are designed to create a better organised structure that will allow the Ministry to focus on court users, victims and others who use their services. The Ministry stresses that this is not just about structural change, but intended to support a fundamental shift in organisation culture which leans more towards customer service and experience.

To this end, several new positions have been created as Service Delivery Managers. They will be responsible for end-to-end customer service, business and performance management, stakeholder engagement and people leadership.

• Gary Trigg (Northland)

• Dan Brady (Auckland)

• James Jefferson (Manukau)

• Marvynne Ashley (Waikato)

• Dan O’Brien (Central North island)

• Jason Strangwick (Bay of Plenty/Coromandel)

• Mick Lander (East Coast/Hawke’s Bay)

• Richard Williams (Manawatu/Wairarapa)

• Mark Poppelwell (Taranaki/Whanganui)

• John Huston (Wellington)

• John Houghton (Nelson/Marlborough/ West Coast)

• Rose Cavanagh (Canterbury)

• Dave Miller (Otago/South Canterbury)

• Robert Loo (Southland/Central Otago)

Of the 14 new appointees to the role of Service Delivery Manager: six are current Ministry staff, while the external appointments come from the public and private sectors, bringing a range of skills and experiences that will benefit the new structure.

The creation of regional support services teams will also enhance court-user experience. Support services across the Central and Southern regions will be centralised in two teams, similar to how Auckland regional support services have been centralised at the Auckland courthouse. This new structure went live on 22 April, with the appointment of two Regional Support Services Managers: Peter McLellan (Central) and Sally Goyat (Southern). Kelvin Smillie continues as manager of regional support services in Auckland Metro.

Another development is the establishment of a national technical advisory service which will operate as a virtual helpdesk, staffed by National Technical Advisors who have extensive Court experience and can provide accurate technical advice to staff. This will ensure the new structure allows Courts to continue to operate efficiently.

There are other initiatives taking place across the way court services are delivered, which include centralising juror administration: this function will be transferred to Auckland for all District and Combined Courts (the Southern region having transferred on 15 April and Central region on 29 April). A centralised calling number will be rolled out across all Courts.

The Ministry says it appreciates the patience the legal profession has shown while these changes have progressed, and looks forward to continuing to work closely with lawyers and other stakeholders as the changes are implemented.

ADLS acknowledges that many members hold strong views about the new structure of the District Court. We welcome your feedback as the rollout of changes progresses. 

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