Thursday, 22 March 2012

PQs - 22nd March 2012

22 Mar 2012
Justice: Interpreting and Translation Services
House of Lords

Baroness Coussins (Crossbench)
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many court cases have been adjourned due to the lack of a qualified, vetted professional interpreter being provided under the Applied Language Solutions framework agreement.
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the current daily cost of court adjournments and other disruptions to the criminal justice system because of a lack of qualified, vetted professional interpreters.

Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)
(1) No data are available. The chief statistician of the Ministry of Justice intends to publish data on interpreters as Official Statistics which will be produced in line with the Code of Practice for Official Statistics. It is his intention to release data by the end of May 2012. A publication date will be placed on the MoJ website once an exact date has been confirmed by the chief statistician.
(2) There was an unacceptable number of problems in the first two weeks of full implementation of the contract after 30 January 2012. These problems have caused some disruption to court business; however no data are yet available on the disruption.

22 Mar 2012
Courts: Translation Services

Jonathan Edwards (Carmarthen East and Dinefwr, Plaid Cymru)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) if he will estimate the number of court cases in Wales for which (a) translation or (b) an interpreter for a language other than Welsh was requested in each year since 2007; and what the language was in each case;
(2) for what purposes services relating to translation and interpretation by HM Courts and Tribunals Service have been contracted to external suppliers; and how many court cases have been delayed due to (a) non-attendance, (b) quality of the translation or interpreter or (c) any other language-related reason (i) since the introduction of the new contract and (ii) in the 12 months prior to the introduction of the new contract.

Jonathan Djanogly (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (HM Courts Service and Legal Aid), Justice; Huntingdon, Conservative)
The information is as follows:
(1) Prior to the implementation of the new arrangements information was not routinely collected on the number of court cases in Wales which required the services of an interpreter. On 20 March 2012, Hansard, column 672W, the Under-Secretary of State for Justice, my hon. Friend Mr Blunt, confirmed that the Chief Statistician of the Ministry of Justice is considering what interpreter data available under the new arrangements can be published by the end of May 2012.
(2) The decision to enter into new arrangements was made because there were inherent problems and inefficiencies with the previous arrangements. The previous arrangements did not meet the needs of the justice system and did not represent good value for money for the public.
Figures are not available on the number of court hearings delayed as a result of problems with interpreters either before or after the new contract started.

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