26 Mar 2012
Justice: Interpreting and Translation Services
House of Lords
Baroness Coussins (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many of the interpreters registered with Applied Language Solutions to provide services under the framework agreement for the criminal justice system are unqualified or unvetted.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of representations from the Association of Police and Court Interpreters and the Society for Public Service Interpreting that they could achieve savings in expenditure by the criminal justice system on interpreting and translating of 40% per annum.
Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)
(1) We have seen no evidence of unqualified or unvetted interpreters being assigned by ALS to provide services under the framework. The contractor is obliged to ensure that the interpreters they use have appropriate qualifications, skills, experience and are appropriately vetted. Should any concerns or complaints arise about the quality, qualifications or background of individual interpreters there is a robust complaints mechanism.
(2) It was open to any organisation to express an interest in taking part in the procurement exercise for language services in the justice sector. The procurement exercise was well publicised but no formal expression was received from the Association of Police and Court Interpreters (APCI) or Society for Public Service Interpreting. APCI did, however, present an alternative strategy in December 2011 outside of the procurement process which did not indicate any set level of savings. The Ministry of Justice remains determined to ensure that taxpayers get value for money and this new contract will save the MoJ at least £12 million a year on the cost of interpretation and translation, a saving of 40% on current expenditure in this area, but will ensure that high quality interpreters and translators are still available to those in need.