24 May 2012
MOJ to monitor court interpreters after one in ten fail to turn up or get translation wrong
The company tasked with providing translators to courts and tribunals will be monitored daily after failing to meet targets, the Ministry of Justice said today.
Applied Language Solutions (ALS) was 8 per cent off target from January to April this year after recently landing the contract.
ALS was set a 98 per cent success rate - measured on an interpreter turning up to the job and completing it.
MoJ figures released today showed the firm had increased its success rate from 65 per cent in February to 90 per cent in April.
An MoJ spokesman said: ''We continue to monitor performance on a daily basis.
''However, the contract is now delivering an effective service and we expect to see improvements in the coming months.''
The spokesman added: ''We have now seen a significant and sustained improvement in performance.
''There are now only a tiny handful of cases each day when an interpreter job is unfilled.
''Disruption to court business and complaints have reduced substantially and close to 3,000 interpreters are now working under this contract.
''We continue to monitor the improvement on a daily basis.''
The MoJ said the definitions of whether interpreters completed or not were decided by the company itself.
The deal with ALS has come under fire after repeated complaints about interpreters failing to turn up, wasting taxpayers' money through court delays and cancellations.
The company had claimed its contract, which started formally on February 1, would save the Government £60 million over five years.
But many interpreters said they had boycotted the firm in reaction to low rates of pay, claiming that led to a struggle by ALS to recruit translators, and prompting the use of untrained people in courts.