Magistrates courts to go live with automated fine payments

The Ministry of Justice has inked a three year deal for BT and speech recognition firm Eckoh to supply an automated fine payments service to all magistrates courts in England and Wales.

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The Ministry of Justice has inked a three year deal for BT and speech recognition firm Eckoh to supply an automated fine payments service to all magistrates courts in England and Wales.

The system will allow fine payers to pay their charges out of court hours. BT and Eckoh will also provide contact centre support for callers.

The system is already being used by a third of courts, and will be rolled out to remaining courts over the next year. Some 278,000 fine payments were collected on average in the last year, the MoJ said, but the system can handle 650,000 calls an hour.

Fixed penalty notices including speeding fines are planned to be added to the service, which is expected to increase the volume of calls substantially.

In one court already using the service, around 15 percent of fines are collected out of hours using the system. The costs of collecting payments had also been reduced, the MoJ said.

Elsewhere in MoJ IT, the much-delayed £442 million Libra case management system, is due to go live at the end of the year.

But last year, the MoJ said a combination of open source and proprietary software had delivered a successful case management system to commercial courts.

An offender tracking system known as C-NOMIS was scaled back dramatically earlier this year following an MoJ review, which decided that the probation service would not receive the system.

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