During the past week the Ministry of Justice has experienced major IT network issues.
Today, most Ministry of Justice (MoJ) staff have access to their usual computer systems. Work continues with the main suppliers Atos and Microsoft to restore services, and they expect all court sites to be fully operational by the time they open tomorrow morning.
The IT issues are not the result of a cyber attack and there has been no loss of data.
The current situation
The latest changes have improved the service further, and currently (as of 23 January):
- most MoJ staff have access to the IT systems
- we have restored access to a further 309 MoJ sites
- we expect to have restored access to all HMCTS sites by Thursday morning and we hope to have restored access to all National Probation Service sites by the end of Thursday
- email and internet access is working across the estate via Wi-Fi and on mobile devices
- the prison estate is unaffected
- reformed online services such as divorce and probate have continued to work throughout the disruption
- hearings are continuing to progress in our courts (though we appreciate the extra burden placed on court users still without network access)
Impact on prisoners
The issues have caused frustration and inconvenience for staff and users. But they have not led to detaining defendants or freeing criminals unlawfully.
Criminal Justice secure email system (CJSM)
The separate and unrelated issue last week affecting 12.5 per cent of users of the Criminal Justice secure email system (CJSM) has now been resolved.
All users can currently send and receive secure emails and have restored the email history of all inboxes affected.
Why has this happened?
The network disruption initially affected devices connecting to the main MoJ network. This network is also used by HMCTS and other MoJ agencies and a number of arms-length bodies.
Together with suppliers Atos and Microsoft, they are working hard to identify the root cause of the issues.
The network issues are unrelated to the £1 billion modernisation of the courts system. The disruption in recent days has been to the existing MoJ network. The Common Platform system is still in testing phase so, contrary to earlier reports, has not been affected.
Teams will continue to work around the clock to resolve the remaining issues.
Duncan is a technology professional with over 20 years experience of working in various IT roles. He has a interest in cyber security, and has a wide range of other skills in radio, electronics and telecommunications.