Monday, 22 October 2012

PQs - 22 Oct 2012 

22 Oct 2012 
Courts: Interpreters

Alun Cairns (Vale of Glamorgan, Conservative)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice
(1) how many complaints his Department has received on the contract awarded for interpretation in court proceedings;
(2) what assessment he has made of the changes to the interpretation arrangements in courts in England and Wales;
(3) whether court interpreters are checked by the Criminal Records Bureau; and if he will make a statement. 

Helen Grant (Maidstone and The Weald, Conservative)
The information is as follows:
(1) Complaints are directed to ALS as the contractor and are monitored by the Department. Statistics published last week by the Ministry of Justice on interpretation services show that there were 72,043 completed requests for language services. ALS received 3,937 complaints between 30 January and 31 August 2012. In criminal courts and prisons the complaints rate has decreased from 9.9% in February to 1.4% in August, in civil and family courts from 5.8% to 0.6% and in tribunals from 17.1% to 5.2%
(2) We remain satisfied that this contract is the right way forward to ensure interpreters of the appropriate quality and value for money on behalf of the public. The Ministry of Justice had strong reasons for changing the old interpreter booking system, which was inadequate in several respects, and this was acknowledged by the National Audit Office report of 10 September 2012. While we accept that there were an unacceptable number of problems at the start of the contract performance has improved significantly and the statistics published yesterday confirm that trend.
(3) Capita, the contractor which books interpreters for court and tribunal hearings, is obliged to ensure that they have appropriate qualifications, skills, experience and are appropriately vetted to at least Enhanced CRB or Non-Police Personal Vetting Level
2. Our procurement specialists are carrying out spot checks to verify the vetting and qualification checks that have been undertaken by Capita. 

22 Oct 2012 
Advanced Language Solutions

Jeremy Corbyn (Islington North, Labour)
To ask the Attorney-General what the results were of the checks carried out by Advanced Language Solutions (ALS) at his request to ensure that all of the interpreters used by ALS have been security vetted. 
Oliver Heald (Solicitor General; North East Hertfordshire, Conservative)
Advanced Language Solutions (ALS) has completed its review and has provided assurances to the Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) that a full audit trail is now held in respect of all 1,100 interpreters on its list and that all vetting information has been fully verified. The vetting status of 208 interpreters used on CPS work between February and August 2012 has been verified by ALS as part of the review. The vetting status of a further 28 interpreters who were used on CPS work between February and August 2012 was unable to be verified as part of the review, and these interpreters were subsequently removed from the ALS supplier list.

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