21 December 2012Print This Post

Rule committee’s failure to sign off portal extension casts further doubt on April timetable

Deadline: significant changes to rules will make compliant portal very difficult

The Civil Procedure Rule Committee’s (CPRC) unexpected failure this month to agree the pre-action protocols and rules to underpin the expanded RTA portal could make it even more difficult to deliver the new system on 1 April, it emerged yesterday.

There will also be no application-to-application (A2A) access to handle employers’ and public liability (EL/PL) cases in the first few months.

RTA Portal Co – which is changing its name to Claims Portal Ltd – also admitted that even if the April deadline is met, it may be some months before the system is fully up and running without “workarounds”.

The timetable for extending the portal to road traffic claims worth up to £25,000 and to include EL and PL cases up to £25,000 has long been acknowledged to be tough for the company to meet, but in a statement issued yesterday it said “a new concern has arisen”.

The protocols and rules were not finalised by the CPRC on 7 December, as had been anticipated. They are now set to be completed on 8 February 2013. In a statement the company said: “The software for the extended portal is being built on the basis of draft protocols and rules. After the CPRC completes its work Claims Portal Ltd will compare the draft and finalised protocols and rules.

“In the event that the final versions are not significantly different from the drafts, the extended portal will still be on course to be delivered by 1 April 2013, although this may be on the basis that some manual ‘workarounds’ will have to be used until the first software amendment is implemented, which is likely to be available in September 2013.”

If, however, there are more significant changes to the draft protocols, the company’s board of directors said “there would be insufficient time to deliver a portal by April that complies”.

The company also revealed that another technical issue will impact on portal access, as time constraints mean only web-based access will be available for the EL and PL area of the extended portal, with A2A access planned to follow with the software amendment in September 2013.

“Organisations that currently connect to the portal via A2A to handle RTA claims will continue to be able to do so. However, if they also handle EL and PL claims they will need to consider that these claims types will only be handled via web browser access in the short term.

“Claims Portal Ltd is aware of the cost and time implications associated with having to make post-launch changes and is working to ensure minimum disruption to the portal user community.”

 

By Neil Rose

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