4 March 2013 by Catherine Baksi
MoJ acts after court interpreter fiasco
The Ministry of Justice says it has accepted all of the recommendations made by the Public Accounts Committee in its report on the department’s ‘shambolic’ handling of the court interpreter contract.
The committee last month published a damning verdict on the procurement and delivery of the four-year contract with Applied Language Solutions to provide court interpreters. The deal, worth up to £42m a year, was expected to save £18m annually.
The committee said that the ministry had not been an intelligent customer in procuring services, despite the risks posed to the administration of justice, and failed to undertake proper due diligence on the winning bid.
The committee made eight recommendations, including cautioning against relying solely on contractors’ assurances that they are ready and able to deliver a service.
Responding, the ministry said it accepted all of the recommendations and had begun work to address the issues raised.
Courts minister Helen Grant said: ‘There has been a dramatic improvement in the interpreter contract over the past 12 months, with the vast majority of bookings now being completed and a major reduction in complaints.’
But she said further improvements are necessary and the MoJ is monitoring the contract on a daily basis.