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Opening of Auckland Transcription Service Centre

Hon Rick Barker
Minister for Courts

29 November 2007 Speech

Opening of Auckland Transcription Service Centre

Hon Rick Barker's address to mark the opening of the Auckland Transcription Service. Auckland Transcription Service Centre, Albany, Auckland.

Greetings

Let me begin by acknowledging the tangata whenua and thanking them for the blessing they have given this building and this occasion.

I’d also like to acknowledge members of the Judiciary who are here today, legal agency representatives, and the staff and management of the Ministry, particularly the Auckland District Court transcription team and the transcription team who have just started working in this new Service Centre.

Wonderful workplace

What a wonderful workplace!

I don’t think many workplaces in New Zealand – including my own – could equal this for views, light and space!

Congratulations to everyone involved in the design and fit-out – you have done a great job.

Just five months ago I had the pleasure of launching the National Transcription Service and opening the Ministry’s first transcription Service Centre in Wellington. So it is doubly satisfying to be here today to open the Auckland Transcription Service Centre. We are also celebrating the start of the first National Transcription Service regional transcription site at Auckland District Court.

Another milestone reached

Today marks an important milestone – the completion of the next major stage of the roll-out of the National Transcription Service. It also marks the start of something new - a different way of delivering transcription services to Auckland court users and, eventually, to all those courts who are connected to this Service Centre.

The National Transcription Service is taking a fresh perspective on how transcription services are delivered with a gradual move from a local to a national way of delivering transcription.


Key changes to transcription

This involves two key changes:

Increasing the number of courtrooms using For the Record (FTR) digital audio technology to record evidence. FTR is being installed in 44 more courtrooms – including the High Court, District Court and Maori Land Court – and existing FTR software is being upgraded in 38 courtrooms.

And managing the transcription workload on a national basis through the Auckland and Wellington Service Centres - the operational hubs of the National Transcription Service - and 15 regional court sites.

Starting in June next year, these locations will be networked so that Court Reporters at any location will be able to transcribe a hearing from any FTR enabled courtroom that is connected to the National Transcription Service network. Currently, If there are no court reporters available in an area due to sickness or someone being absent, the case has to stop, now the reporting duties can be can carried out off site and this will enable cases to proceed.

Over time, these changes will help transform the efficiency of courts for the benefit of the whole court system. They will particularly benefit the Judiciary and other court users.

Greater Auckland Service Delivery Strategy

The National Transcription Service and all that it entails is one part of a comprehensive, ongoing programme of improvements being introduced by this Government to courts.

One key initiative currently being progressed is the Greater Auckland Service Delivery Strategy and I would like to take a moment to briefly talk about it because it directly relates to what we are achieving here.

The Government recognises that Auckland is a special case because of its sheer size and increasing demand for court services. Auckland already comprises at least 30% of court work and population projections indicate that the pressure on the court system in this region will continue to grow.

This has called for some serious thinking about how we can reconfigure facilities and services to position courts to meet current and future demand in the greater Auckland region.

The Ministry has been working on the Greater Auckland Service Delivery strategy since November 2006. We have developed a number of high level proposals that will now be the subject of more work and close consultation with justice sector agencies.

The strategy has the potential to greatly improve the quality and timeliness of our court services in Auckland. Most importantly we want to give court users better access to justice by better understanding our customers’ needs and reflecting this in innovative service design and delivery.

An example of changes to court service delivery

So you can see that what is happening with the National Transcription Service reflects a wider move to meet our customers’ needs in innovative ways. There’s a growing awareness that modern technology means that not everyone has to be in the courtroom.

This Service Centre is a trailblazer, providing a template for how other justice services could be delivered in New Zealand.

The judiciary report that cases are being resolved more quickly and efficiently as a result of the changes we are making and the introduction of digital technology to courtrooms. This means better and timelier access to justice for all New Zealanders.

It’s exciting to be part of something new. The wider Auckland transcription team can be very proud of being at the forefront of change that will make justice more accessible to more people. The Government will continue to support the goal of providing first class justice services through the court system.

Thank you

ENDS

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