19 Apr 2012
Andy Slaughter (Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) how many applications for mistrial or unlawful detention have been brought relating to a failure to provide adequate translation services by Applied Language Solutions in the last 12 months;
(2) what steps he is taking in respect of the failure to provide translators by Applied Language Solutions;
(3) how much his Department spent on translation services in each of the last 12 months.
Crispin Blunt (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Prisons and Probation), Justice; Reigate, Conservative)
Information on applications for mistrial or unlawful detention in relation to a failure to provide adequate translation, or indeed interpretation services is not collected centrally.
My officials continue to meet with the contractor and demand continued improvement in performance and seek to ensure that the contractor meets the contracted levels of performance. Contingency arrangements to minimise disruption to courts and tribunals will remain in place until then.
Translation forms a small subset of overall spend on interpretation and translation services. Under the previous arrangements information on spending on translation services was not collected centrally. As made clear on 28 February 2012, Official Report, column 190W, the cost across the justice system was estimated to be in the region of £60 million. Based on those estimates, spending in the Department is estimated to be in the region of £25-28 million per year across Her Majesty's Courts and Tribunal Service, Her Majesty's Prison Service and the Probation Service. Because information on spending in this specific area has never been collected centrally, the Ministry is unable to provide a full monthly breakdown.