HoC Justice Committee
The work of the Secretary of State
Oral evidence: Rt Hon Chris Grayling MP, Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor, Ministry of Justice
Wednesday 9 July 2014
Q54 Jeremy Corbyn: On the court interpreters service follow-up, are you satisfied that the contract is working effectively? They failed to meet their targets last year.
Chris Grayling: Typically, the performance level is well up in the 90 per cents. It is not perfect, but there is no clear benchmark to judge against. One of the assumptions has been that the introduction of the contract has led to a long-term decline in performance compared with what was there before. The truth is that we do not have benchmarks against which we can set this performance. It is a shame, but it is the truth. I am not claiming the system is perfect, or that an interpreter is always available, though with the different challenges the court faces in language terms it will not always be easy to find the right interpreter at short notice. It is an area that we continue to work on. My Courts Minister, Shailesh Vara, has been focused very much on trying to make sure that we work with the contractors to improve performance. It is much, much better than it was in the troubled period. It is now at or close to the target level most of the time, and we will continue to try to make sure we get performance as close to 100% as possible.
Q55 Jeremy Corbyn: What response have you given to the report on this by the National Audit Office, which was concerned about the numbers of tier 3 interpreters rising from 3% to 10%? When will your report on the tiering system be available?
Chris Grayling: I am not sure of the answer to that, but I will write to you.