The Legal Aid Agency has committed to setting itself ‘challenging’ targets over the reliability of its IT systems in the same week it suffered technical glitches for more than 48 hours.

A 2020 vision and 2017-18 business plan document, published yesterday, state that the agency will 'improve and enhance our business processes to ensure we maintain and build upon the excellent customer service we offer to our users and partners in the justice system'. The agency will also 'implement improvements to our business IT systems, increasing our digital offering for staff and users'.

The agency says it will measure these objectives by 'setting ourselves challenging targets for customer services, including responding to correspondence and resolving complaints quickly' and 'setting ourselves challenging targets for the reliability of our IT systems'.

However, on Monday, the agency acknowledged that some practitioners were having trouble using its client and cost management system (CCMS) to submit civil legal aid applications. CCMS has long been a source of frustration for practitioners.

On Tuesday the agency announced its customer helplines were down.

On Wednesday customer service lines were 'back up and running' and CCMS was 'stable'.

The agency's CCMS system and the 230,000 phone calls received by the customer services team are listed as 'achievements' in the 2016-17 financial year.

Introducing the report, the agency's chief executive, Shaun McNally, said the next three years 'will bring a number of new challenges for the LAA and like all parts of the public sector we expect to remain under strong pressure to reduce our budget'.