14 June 2012 by Catherine Baksi
CPS delays rollout of ALS interpreters
The Crown Prosecution Service has delayed its rollout of the Ministry of Justice framework agreement for the provision of interpreters and translators, the Gazette has learned.
The CPS was due to sign up fully to the agreement on 1 June.
The MoJ brokered the framework agreement last August under which now Capita-owned Applied Language Solutions would provide interpretation and translation services across the criminal justice system.
Under the agreement, interpreters are provided at fixed rates through a single route. Criminal justice agencies have been able to sign up to the agreement since January when a contract began for the provision of interpreters at courts and tribunals across England and Wales. The courtroom service has been the subject of widespread complaints.
The CPS signed up to the framework agreement on 1 February and piloted face-to-face interpreter services in its Lancashire, Staffordshire, West Yorkshire and West Midlands witness care units.
The CPS was due to extend the arrangement nationally on 1 June, but a spokesman said that date was ‘always going to be subject to review’ and that, while feedback from reviews of the pilots had been ‘positive’, more time is needed. ‘We decided, in conjunction with Applied, that more time was needed to complete the tests while Applied is focusing on improving the service it provides in the areas where it is already operating.’
The CPS said changes need to be made to the online booking system to take into account the range of locations, other e-invoicing systems and to ensure usability by caseworkers and finance staff. He said: ‘We are working with Applied to ensure it will be able to move to national rollout as soon as practicable.’