Understanding and improving defendant engagement

This research was commissioned by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS) to identify the factors preventing defendants to engage in criminal courts processes. We interviewed 38 defendants with recent criminal cases and explored how they can better be supported in various stages of courts processes, especially around legal representation, from their own perspective.

The report details how the lack of user-friendly and timely information or support with signposting create additional barriers for defendants, and how early intervention is key to foster engagement.

Miriam Davidson, Head of User Inclusion and Engagement for HMCT, said:

This piece of research by Revolving Doors has been highly beneficial and informed two important outcomes. Firstly, working with HMCTS staff and court users themselves, we’ve developed a tool for our contact centre staff to have more effective conversations with users to better understand and respond to their needs.

She added:

We’ve also now developed best practice guidance, training and tools for staff to connect users to external support providers on a broad range of topics. The design work for these is almost complete, and we look forward to seeing both initiatives having a positive impact on the experiences of court users.

Read our research report below to find out more.