1 February 2016 by Malcolm Fowler
Court interpreting: lesson in failure
All credit to Monidipa Fouzder for yet another attritional contribution to the scandalous running sore that is the outsourced non-provision of professional interpreter services.
As has been asserted by more than one parliamentary select committee, this has been an object lesson in how not to decant core ministerial duties to mega-companies with poor track records of delivery. It would be funny were it less serious and less guaranteed to wrench us back to the future, with the next resultant miscarriage of justice case likely to hit the streets any time now. For a nanosecond or two perhaps, the odd hand will be raised in horror.
And so, at a snail’s pace, we are assured that things improve. Who says? Well, Capita actually, since under its contract it marks its own homework (nice work if you can get it; many a legal aid practitioner would rather like that). And the £38m in savings on interpreting services? Whose figures are these, since the Ministry of Justice is on record as keeping none of its own? Yes, got it in one: Capita’s. And in any event, what of all the costs thrown away in delays and aborted hearings? Right again: the MoJ has no idea since it keeps no records, but vastly more in any event than the supposed savings.
We must continue to watch both organ grinder and factotum like dyspeptic hawks – and so we shall.
Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and higher-court advocate, Dennings, Tipton