House of Lords written question – answered on 21st November 2011.
Lord Hylton Crossbench
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the new system for providing interpreters and translators yet applies to the UK Border Agency (a) in respect of initial and substantive interviews for asylum seekers with inadequate command of English, and (b) for oral hearings before asylum and immigration courts or tribunals; if not, when they expect it to do so; and whether they will keep the quality of interpretation under review.
Lord Henley The Minister of State, Home Department
Although the Home Office has awarded the contract for face-to-face interpreting services to thebigword, the UK Border Agency is not using the contract for the provision of interpreter services for asylum interviews. The UK Border Agency will review this position in the next financial year and will continue to monitor the quality of the interpretation service that it provides to asylum seekers.
Interpreters for asylum and immigration tribunals are booked by HM Courts and Tribunals Service (HMCTS). New arrangements for the provision of interpreters and translators services to HMCTS are to be introduced soon under a Ministry of Justice framework agreement.