MPs have warned that a twenty year old case management IT system being used by crown courts is in serious danger, two years after Oracle stopped supporting the software on which it runs.

The case management system, called CREST, is “bringing operational risks” because of the lack of support, and also because does not work properly on the Microsoft Windows operating system used on many PCs in HM Courts Service. Additionally, it is not linked centrally between courts, the National Audit Office said in its ‘Administration of the Crown Court’ report.

In 2008, when HM Courts recruited Logica as an IT supplier, a “stabilisation” programme for CREST was initiated. By March 2011, HM Courts aims to have made the system run on Microsoft Windows, a move that will allow the centralised networking of data between courts, the NAO said.

But data still has to be entered manually by case administrators into CREST, which stands for the Crown Court Electronic Support System, when cases are moved from magistrates courts into crown courts or when they move between crown court locations. This risked error and duplication, the NAO said.

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