15 October 2012
MPs have been warned that changes to the way in which interpreters are provided by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) could damage the reputation of Britain's justice system around the world.
The committee took evidence on 15 October 2012 on the outsourcing of interpretation work to private firm Applied Language Solutions (ALS) in a bid to save £18m a year.
Geoffrey Buckingham, from the Association of Police and Court Interpreters, said change would be costly, both in financial terms and in "human terms".
He pointed to a number of allegations of errors by interpreters employed by ALS.
Capita, which owns ALS, said it had been awarded the contract to address "weaknesses, lack of transparency and disproportionate costs" in the previous system.
Ann Beasley, the director general of finance and corporate services at the MoJ, said that "due diligence" had been carried out in awarding the contract.
Evidence was also taken from:
• Alan Thompson, Association of Police and Court Interpreters
• Ursula Brennan, Permanent Secretary at the MoJ
• Peter Handcock, HM Court Transcription Services
• Martin Jones, Deputy Director of Sentencing at the MoJ.
Watch video here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/democracylive/hi/house_of_commons/newsid_9759000/9759885.stm