20 September 2012
‘Shocking failings’ of court contract
A Parliamentary committee is to hold an inquiry into the “shocking failings” of the Saddleworth company awarded a five-year government contract to provide translation services to the nation’s justice system.
Applied Language Solutions has come under repeated attack since it won the contract last year. The latest, from the National Audit Office, labelling the performance “wholly inadequate”.
The Public Accounts Committee will hold a hearing into the alleged failings on October 15. Its chairman, Labour MP Margaret Hodge said in a letter: “The NAO inquiry has uncovered some shocking failings.”
Geoffrey Buckingham, chairman of the Association of Police and Court Interpreters, wants the contract terminated.
He said: “The NAO report provides the evidence that the private contract given to ALS should never have been awarded.”
The NAO report said ALS had not recruited and assessed sufficient interpreters.
The company was set up nine years ago by businessman Gavin Wheeldon from his bedroom, but bought by professional services firm Capita last December for £7.5 million.