16/02/2013 by Frances Cook
Our Justice System Should Be Smarter and Smaller - Not Privatised
"Nothing short of shambolic" uttered the softly spoken Sir Alan Beith MP, chairman of the Justice Select Committee, as he was passing judgement on the government's handling of court interpretation services.
This service may sound like a minor detail, but failing to provide an interpreter at the right time can lead to victims and their families, some of whom will have waited years for a case to come to court, see the trial collapse before their very eyes. Similarly, innocent people can languish in remand cells while the courts struggle to find an interpreter. These, according to the committee's report, have formed just part of the litany of failings in a poorly managed outsourcing process, which has wasted taxpayers' money and court time, while being unfair to victims and suspects alike.
This should not be happening. Much as interpretation services require the dedicated work of highly skilled professionals, the service itself is comparatively straightforward. You get the right interpreter to the right court at the right time. Sounds doable? Well, for the private contractor involved, it seems not. […]