13 Oct 2011
Sadiq Khan (Tooting, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) what changes he proposes to the National Agreement on arrangements for the use of interpreters, translators and language service professionals in investigations and proceedings within the criminal justice system;
(2) what representations he has received from organisations and individuals involved in translation and interpretation on the decision to enter into a Commercial Framework Agreement for the provision of language services in the criminal justice system;
(3) which organisations were shortlisted for the Commercial Framework Agreement to deliver language services in the criminal justice system; and what the monetary value was of their respective tenders.
Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)
As I announced in a written ministerial statement I made to the House on 5 July 2011, Hansard, columns 86-87WS, we are reforming the delivery of interpretation and translation services across the justice sector. This will primarily affect England and Wales. A Languages Services Framework Agreement with a single supplier was signed by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) on 24 August 2011. As a result, parts of the National Agreement will be dis-applied to organisations inside the MoJ framework.
The Ministry has received representations from a wide variety of individual interpreters, translators and their representative organisations throughout our consideration of this issue. We held a series of four roadshows, in autumn 2009 in London, Cardiff, Manchester and Newcastle, which sought attendees' views on the strengths and weaknesses of the current arrangements and how to bring about improvements. A general email address has been available since February 2010 to allow interested parties to submit views direct to the project team and ask questions.
In August 2010 various interested parties were notified of the Government's intention to embark upon a procurement process and there were meetings with some of those interested parties, including interpreters' and translators' representative bodies. The Ministry sought views on our specific proposals as they had emerged from the competitive dialogue process, which was undertaken between 30 March 2011 and 4 May 2011. We continue to receive, consider and respond to correspondence from interested parties and groups.
The procurement exercise for the Language Services Framework Agreement was undertaken via a competitive dialogue process. There were several stages to this process:
(A) A Pre-qualification Questionnaire;
(B) Invitation to submit an Outline Solution;
(C) Invitation to submit a Detailed Solution;
(D) Invitation to submit a Final Tender.
126 suppliers were invited to submit a pre-qualification questionnaire. 77 accepted the invitation and 58 fully completed one. Their responses were evaluated.
12 suppliers were invited to participate in the competitive dialogue itself, because they met the pre-qualification criteria. These were:
Applied Language Solutions
Language Line Services
Language Services Associates
Wessex Translations Ltd
Royal National Institute for Deaf People
During the competitive dialogue process only one supplier met the acceptable non-price criteria following the Invitation to Submit Detailed Solution stage of the process. Therefore, only one supplier was able to go on to be evaluated against the price criteria. That supplier was awarded the Framework Agreement.
The current value of interpretation and translation in the justice sector is between £58-65 million per year.