Magistrates in England and Wales can now access video-based online learning programmes, including guides on managing yourself, teamworking and making judicial decisions. Most of these programmes, commissioned by The Magistrates Association (MA), are the work of the leadership communications specialist, CloudQast, which has also provided the platform where these programmes reside.
While working with the Judicial College – which is responsible for arrangements for training the courts’ judiciary, including magistrates, in England and Wales – the MA, an independent, national charity, supports its 17,000 members in administering the law. It also educates people in the role of magistracy in England and Wales.
The MA’s Chief Executive, Chris Brace JP, explained, “Since magistrates have to retire when they reach the age of 70, this means that around a third of the country’s stock of magistrates will retire over the next few years. This large turnover in the number of magistrates is likely to result in a training requirement – and subsequent on-going continuing professional development (CPD) requirement – that would be time-consuming, resources-heavy and costly to meet via traditional, instructor-led training alone.
“Video-based learning materials, delivered online to a range of devices provide a standardised, convenient and easily accessible solution,” he added.
“Moreover, the CloudQast platform – along with CloudQast’s creative expertise in creating the videos for this platform – gives every indication of being highly cost-effective. In addition, these videos help to engage and motivate learners – which, given the many other calls on our members’ lives, increases the chances that they’ll be used.
“That state of affairs can only benefit our members – and the judicial system they serve.”
Some two years ago, the MA began exploring the idea of standardising its training and making it available online. Not only did this promise to reduce on-going training costs but it also made possible the option of magistrates throughout England and Wales carrying out their CPD activities online – when it’s convenient for them to do so, bearing in mind that most magistrates have to juggle the demands of a full-time job, a family, along with other hobbies and interests, in addition to the duties and responsibilities of being a magistrate.
The Association’s researches led it to CloudQast, which specialises in addressing organisations’ needs for fast, authentic, precise and inspiring communication – especially in the fields of leadership as well as compliance, along with learning and development.
CloudQast’s platform now includes a number of videos of the Association’s seminars, as well as some CloudQast-written materials featuring CloudQast directors, Lindsey Mack and Damian Gaskin.
Giving evidence to the Justice Committee in the Palace of Westminster, in June 2016, the Magistrates Association’s Chair, Malcolm Richardson JP, and the Deputy Chair, Sheena Jowett JP, explained that it’s important to give magistrates the option to learn online.
They explained that, while the Judicial College provides all the learning materials for subjects that are mandated and essential for magistrates to learn, most magistrates are interested in taking their understanding beyond this core of knowledge. That’s where the MA’s CloudQast-provided platform comes into its own – offering programmes focusing on awareness and familiarisation training to help magistrates do their job more effectively.
To read more about how CloudQast is helping the Magistrates Association, visit http://www.cloudqast.com/_docs/ma2016.pdf
The Magistrates Association is a national charity governed by its members which aims to provide a voice for magistrates, support for its members in administering the law and to educate people in the role of magistracy in England and Wales. It’s the independent voice of the 17,000 active magistrates in England and Wales. These magistrates deal with over 90% of criminal cases and comprise 85% of all judicial office holders.
The Magistrates Association – founded in 1920 – operates under a Royal Charter, which was granted in 1962 and updated in 2013. It’s established and incorporated to promote the sound administration of the law, including, but not restricted to, educating and instructing magistrates and others in the law, the administration of justice, the treatment of offenders and the prevention of crime. It also aims to educate the public about the role of magistrates. The Association has 58 branches throughout England and Wales. It doesn’t operate in Scotland and Northern Ireland – which operate different legal frameworks from that in England and Wales.