Tuesday, 11 November 2014

PQs - 11 November 2014


11 November 2014
Magistrates' Courts
Ministry of Justice

Andy Slaughter (Shadow Minister (Justice); Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many times magistrates' courts hearings in each district have had to be postponed for lack of (a) prosecution preparedness, (b) the failure of Capita interpreters' contract, (c) lack of availability of court and (d) any other reason in the last year.

Shailesh Vara (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice; North West Cambridgeshire, Conservative)
Data are published in Court Statistics Quarterly showing the number of trials in magistrates’ courts which are ineffective or postponed on the day of trial. This is for a variety of agreed reasons, including “Prosecution not ready”, “Interpreter availability” and “Court administration”. However, this only includes cases that have been listed for trial and are adjourned, not for any other hearings, such as preliminary hearings, guilty plea hearings or sentencing. HMCTS does not centrally collate the data on adjourned hearings, other than trials, and the reasons behind the adjournment.
The volume of trials listed in magistrates’ courts, and those which were ineffective, are published in Table 3.5 of Court Statistics Quarterly which can be found at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/court-statistics-quarterly
The national Criminal Justice Board, chaired by my Rt Hon Friend the Minister for Policing, Criminal Justice and Victims, is overseeing the Transforming Summary Justice programme, a collaboration between police, CPS and the courts to ensure that cases in the magistrates’ courts are prepared and prosecuted in a timely and efficient manner. It is currently being rolled out.

11 November 2014
Applied Language Solutions
Ministry of Justice

Andy Slaughter (Shadow Minister (Justice); Hammersmith, Labour)
To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what financial penalties ALS/Capita has paid in each month of (a) 2013 and (b) 2014 for missing agreed service delivery standards since taking over the contract for the delivery of language services to his Department.

Andrew Selous (The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Assistant Whip (HM Treasury); South West Bedfordshire, Conservative)
Capita TI only gets paid for completed bookings, so if it cannot supply an interpreter, it does not get paid. The Ministry of Justice manages service delivery and performance through a number of methods and remedies open to it under the contract. The Ministry is continually working with the supplier to improve performance delivery standards.
If performance in a particular month falls below that stated in the contract (98%) success rate, the department receives a monetary credit from Capita TI. Service Credits can be imposed on Capita TI in line with the terms of the contract. The Service Credits are calculated at the end of each financial year and not monthly and from the beginning of the contract. In January 2012 till March 2014 the total amount of services credits are as below:
The service credit amounts for Jan 2012 – March 2014
The interpreting contract was introduced to tackle the inefficiencies and inconsistencies in the previous system. The contract has delivered significant improvements so far and we now have a system that is robust, sustainable and able to deliver a quality service at an affordable level. As a result of the contract, we have spent £27m less in the first two years it has been running, and it continues to reduce the burden on taxpayers.

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