14 January 2014
Sadiq Khan (Shadow Lord Chancellor and Shadow Secretary of State for Justice; Tooting, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice how many complaints have been received about the court interpreter contract in each month of its operation.
Shailesh Vara (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice; North West Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
Please find following the link to the online published statistics on the use of Language Services in Courts and Tribunals. This statistics published include data on complaints:
The volume of complaints for court interpreters has decreased since the start of the MOJ Contract.
14 January 2014
Meg Hillier (Hackney South and Shoreditch, Labour)
My hon. Friend is no doubt aware of the fiasco of the IT service for interpreters in courts, which, dare I say it—ironically—is another Ministry of Justice success story. Does that not underline her point?
Jenny Chapman (Shadow Minister (Justice); Darlington, Labour)
My hon. Friend is completely right. Serving on the Public Accounts Committee, she will be familiar with the manifold problems that the MOJ has with commissioning and procurement. I will refer later particularly to the court interpreters contract and the inclusion of small mammals, which hon. Members might find surprising.
The performance of providers and the very real concern about failure brings me to new clause 5, which deals with contract management. It is designed to ensure better performance from providers and much better management of contracts by the Ministry of Justice than we have seen in recent years. I know the Minister will accept that this is needed. Now we come to the bit about the rabbit! The MOJ paid for a rabbit to be licensed as a court interpreter—the commissioning car crash, as it was called, meaning the language service’s contract. The Chairman of the Justice Select Committee concluded that the Ministry’s naivety at the start of the process appeared to have been matched, once the new arrangements came into operation, by its indulgence towards underperformance against the contract.