Tuesday, 28 February 2012

PQs - 28th February 2012

28 Feb 2012
Translation Services

Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) pursuant to the written ministerial statement of 5 July 2011, Official Report, columns 86-7WS, on interpretation and translation services how the figure of £18 million was calculated;
(2) what estimate he has made of the cost of his Department's adoption of the Framework Agreement on translation services;
(3) what impact assessment was carried out before awarding a contract for outsourced translation support to Applied Language Solutions;
(4) what discussions he had with the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport on the contract for translation services for the Olympic Games with Applied Language Solutions (a) prior to and (b) after awarding the contract for court translation services to that company;
(5) how many and what proportion of criminal trials required the presence of a translator in the last year;
(6) pursuant to the answer to the hon. Member for Tooting of 13 October 2011, Official Report, columns 534-6W and the answer to the hon. Member for Stoke-on-Trent South of 20 December 2011, Official Report, column 1135W, which six organisations were invited to give outline solutions for the Commercial Framework Agreement to deliver language services in the criminal justice system; and which organisations were invited to submit detailed solutions.

Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)
The information is as follows:
(1) The estimated annual spend across the justice sector is in the region of £60 million. This was calculated using sample data provide by justice organisations. Savings were modelled using detailed sample data from the police, tribunals, courts and the Crown Prosecution Service comparing rates paid under previous arrangements against cost under the new arrangements. This provided a figure in the region of £18 million savings across the justice sector taking account those police forces which had initially expressed an interest in signing contracts under the framework agreement.
(2) The precise annual cost of the contract will depend on the number of interpreters required under the new system. Based on current patterns of demand we anticipate that once fully embedded the annual cost will be in the region of £18 million (based on the current cost of £30 million). The new contract will provide much greater transparency of the overall cost of interpretation and translation.
(3) The Ministry of Justice considered all the impacts of the new delivery mechanism including conducting an equality impact assessment.
(4) The Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, my right hon. and learned Friend Mr Clarke, has not had any discussions with the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, my right hon. Friend Mr Hunt about the award of any contracts for language services for the Olympics. The Ministry of Justice contract for language services was awarded to Applied Language Solutions following a fair and open procurement process.
(5) This information is not available.
(6) The six organisations invited to submit an outline solutions were:
Applied Language Solutions;
Language Line Services;
The Big Word;
K International plc;
Computacentre UK Ltd; and
Merrill Legal Solutions.
The three organisations invited to submit a detailed solution were:
Applied Language Solutions;
Language Line Services; and
The Big Word.

28 Feb 2012
Olympic Games 2012: Interpreters
Culture Media and Sport

Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport what assessment he has made of the (a) effectiveness and (b) usability of his Department's contract with Applied Language Solutions for court translation services; and if he will make a statement.

Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)
I have been asked to reply
on behalf of the Department for Justice.
There have been an unacceptable number of problems in the first few weeks of the contract and we have made clear to the contractor that this must be changed. The contractor is taking urgent steps to improve performance including providing additional staff to deal with bookings, further targeted recruitment of interpreters in key languages and improvements to the call handling and complaints process.

28 Feb 2012
Translation Services

Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what discussions (a) Ministers and (b) civil servants have had with the European Commission on Directive 2010/64/EU; whether the United Kingdom has notified the European Commission of a wish to participate in the adoption and application of this Directive; when the UK plans to transpose the Directive fully; what assessment has been made of the compatibility of the Framework Agreement on translation services with the Directive; and whether Applied Language Solutions will be bound by the Directive in its implementation of its contract for outsourced translation services.

Jonathan Djanogly (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid), Justice; Huntingdon, Conservative)
Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings was negotiated in the usual way within the ordinary legislative procedure. This process involves a number of expert Working Groups where officials represent the UK to develop the text. It was also discussed by officials at COREPER before coming to Ministers in a JHA Council for agreement. There have been no specific meetings between officials or Ministers and the European Commission to discuss this directive outside this process.
The UK Government opted into the directive at the outset of negotiations and agreed to the final text at a JHA Council in October 2010. The directive has an implementation date of 27 October 2013, which is common to all member states bound by the directive. The UK will take steps to implement the measure fully by that time. Analysis of the options for implementation is under way and the Government will consider these in due course. The Framework Agreement with Applied Language Solutions makes clear that provision of service must be compliant with the requirements of any EU measures on interpretation or translation.

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