4 March 2012
90% of interpreters boycott new ‘flawed’ system, claims campaign group
Interpreters 'refuse requests from court officials'
A survey, commissioned by campaign group Interpreters for Justice and carried out by consultancy Involvis, states that 90% of 1,206 interpreters who took part in the online survey have not and will not register for the new system administered by Applied Language Solutions (ALS).
Members of the Association of Police and Court Interpreters (APCI) and Society for Public Service Interpreting (SPSI) which are backing Interpreters for Justice, were amongst those who took part in the survey.
They state they will not sign up to the new system because it is flawed, citing a sub-standard assessment process introduced by ALS which has lowered the standards and is devaluing the profession overall.
The campaign group has been set up with the sole objective of persuading the Ministry of Justice to scrap the Framework Agreement.
Geoffrey Buckingham, Chairman, Association of Police and Court Interpreters and spokesperson for Interpreters for Justice, said:
"ALS is saying they have 3,000 interpreters on their register, but when 9 in 10 of professional interpreters who replied to our survey say they are refusing to sign up, this does not stack up. The result is that people without training, qualifications or legal experience are being used to interpret in court which is creating chaos and higher costs. The Ministry of Justice might say these are teething problems, but we say they are terminal."
The Ministry of Justice awarded their single Framework Agreement contract for interpreting services to ALS and it came into effect on 30th January 2012. It has since been reported that failings in the new system have caused costly delays, adjournments and cancelled court cases.
Interpreters for Justice also say that interpreters are also refusing requests from court officials who have been given permission by the Ministry of Justice to revert to the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.