Tuesday, 16 October 2012

PQs - 16 Oct 2012


Advanced Language Solutions
Oral Answers to Questions — Attorney-General
16 Oct 2012

Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch, Labour)
What progress Advanced Language Solutions has made on reporting to the Crown Prosecution Service the results of checks to ensure that all of its interpreters have been security vetted.

Oliver Heald (Solicitor General; North East Hertfordshire, Conservative)
Advanced Language Solutions has completed its review and has provided assurances to the Crown Prosecution Service that a full audit trail is now held in respect of the 1,100 interpreters on its list and that all vetting information has been fully verified.

Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch, Labour)
The Government have overseen a shambles in the provision of interpreting services. They have procured an IT system, at a cost to the taxpayer of £42 million, to ensure that interpreters turn up in court, but they are not turning up. Justice is being delayed, and in many cases it is being denied. What action is the Attorney-General taking to ensure that the Ministry of Justice is taking proper action to ensure that justice is not ill served by such chaos?

Oliver Heald (Solicitor General; North East Hertfordshire, Conservative)
It is important that there should be strong performance in this area. There has been a major improvement since the early months of the contract, when there were the problems that the hon. Lady has rightly outlined. The picture is one of improvement and one where the Government are saving £15 million a year, so we are also ensuring good value for money. There has been an improvement, and we will continue to monitor the area closely.

Justice: Interpreting and Translation Services
House of Lords
16 October 2012

Lord Beecham (Labour)
To ask Her Majesty's Government, in the light of the recent report by the National Audit Office on the Ministry of Justice's Language Services Contract, what steps they are taking to monitor the performance of Applied Language Services (ALS) in the supply of interpretation services to the courts; and what sanctions they have applied in relation to ALS' performance to date.

Lord McNally (Minister of State, Justice; Liberal Democrat)
We welcome the NAO's acknowledgement that the department had strong reasons for changing the old interpreter booking system and their recommendation to develop a strategy to fully implement the framework. We monitor the service closely and hold regular meetings with the contractor. Service credits have been applied since May where the contractor has fallen short of the required service levels. Statistics on this area published by the Ministry show that ALS fulfilled 90% of requests in April this year, and we expect to publish further statistics later this year. Figures in the NAO report show that more than 95% of bookings are now being filled, while complaints have fallen. We are continuing to push for further improvement.

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