Wednesday, 28 April 2021

PQ: 28th April

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-04-19.183101.h

Coronavirus: Vaccination

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 28th April 2021.

Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, pursuant to the Answer of 24 February 2021 to Question 154863 on Coronavirus: Vaccination, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Registered Public Service Interpreters in the list of occupations the Government classes as key workers for the purposes of priority access to covid-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Registered Public Service Interpreters working in healthcare settings are eligible for vaccination as frontline healthcare workers in line with the Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation’s advice. Registered Public Service Interpreters working in non-healthcare settings will be prioritised for vaccination according to their age and clinical risk, along with the rest of the population. They will not be prioritised based on their occupation.

 

Monday, 26 April 2021

PQ: 26th April

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-03-24.174913.h

Health Services: Interpreters

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 26th April 2021.

Vicky Foxcroft Shadow Minister (Work and Pensions)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what steps he has taken to support children who need to interpret for their parents during medical appointments.

Jo Churchill The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

Appropriate interpreting services should be provided to all patients requiring them and responsibility for meeting patients’ communication needs within the National Health Service rests with local providers. The NHS provides interpreting services to patients where applicable to ensure that patients are able to communicate effectively and appropriately with clinicians and other health service professionals.

NHS England’s guidance on commissioning interpretation services in primary care states that children under 16 years old should never act as interpreters, due to serious concerns around Gillick competence and safeguarding. Their guidance is available at the following link:

https://www.england.nhs.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/09/guidance-for-commissioners-interpreting-and-translation-services-in-primary-care.pdf

Saturday, 24 April 2021

Ireland: Poor interpreting having impact on patients, victims of crime and those seeking asylum

 https://www.thejournal.ie/readme/interpreter-inadequate-service-5388479-Apr2021/

24th April - Mary Phelan

Poor interpreting having impact on patients, victims of crime and those seeking asylum

Ireland is home to people from every country in the world. Many have excellent English, others have enough for work and everyday situations while still others have very little or no knowledge of the language.

Even those who are reasonably fluent in English may find themselves outside their comfort zone in certain situations.

Interpreters are needed to ensure that limited English speakers can access services, can understand and be understood, and that people interacting with them can carry out their work. They are generally made available in garda stations and the courts but not always in other settings.

However, despite the obvious need for interpreting, interpreter provision in Ireland is very problematic.

Public procurement processes have resulted in unattractive rates of pay and working conditions. There is a pervasive assumption that anyone who speaks English and another language can interpret.

In reality, interpreting is a highly skilled activity involving processing information in one language and conveying it accurately in a second language.

Interpreters need high levels of proficiency in both languages and interpreting skills. They need to understand the context of their assignment, the information they are interpreting, and ethical principles such as confidentiality, impartiality and accuracy.

No accredited training

While some interpreters on the Irish market are no doubt very able, the key problem is that there is no accredited training course for interpreters. Nor is there an accreditation system to establish if interpreters are competent or even a system of quality control to monitor interpreting.

Unsurprisingly, there is no shortage of reports on problems around interpreter provision.

Over the last two decades, the Irish Translators’ and Interpreters’ Association has sent many submissions to various government bodies advocating for change. A number of NGOs have also highlighted the issue as have reports on direct provision.

There is no shortage of laws either. In criminal proceedings there is a longstanding right to the free assistance of an interpreter, a right that was reinforced by an EU directive that urges member states to take concrete measures to ensure quality, including a register of qualified interpreters.

The directive was transposed into Irish law in 2013 but absolutely nothing has been done to improve the service.

Expected to bring own interpreter

The Public Sector Equality and Human Rights Duty obliges public bodies to actively promote equality, protect human rights and eliminate discrimination. It is clearly discriminatory if people with limited English proficiency are not provided with an interpreter when they go to their GP or when they are in hospital. This sort of solution is very unsatisfactory as people may prefer not to discuss medical issues in the presence of someone they know. In a domestic violence case, the abuser could be the interpreter.

 

Consequences of inaccurate interpreting

What happens if interpreters are unable to provide a competent service?

In international protection interviews, inaccurate interpreting can result in inconsistencies and an interviewer not believing an applicant’s account of why they are seeking asylum.

In a garda station the account of a suspect or a witness or a victim of crime given through an interpreter may be distorted, unclear or even incomprehensible.

In court, a defendant may not understand evidence against them. A victim of crime may not understand court proceedings. A patient may not understand the nature of their illness.

These issues do not only affect people with limited English proficiency. They also affect all the professionals who are trying to do their job as well as possible.

GPs and other medical professionals will find it difficult to carry out their work if they are unsure what exactly the problem is, and whether or not patients understand their diagnosis, prognosis and medical advice.

Members of An Garda Síochána may be concerned that evidence provided during interviews will not stand up to scrutiny if the recordings are later checked for accuracy. Judges and lawyers have to try and manage situations where confusion arises in court due to poor interpreting.

The State needs to step up and the relevant government departments – Justice, Health, Housing, Social Protection, Employment – need to work together with government agencies to bring about an interpreting service that meets the needs of twenty-first century Ireland.

Thursday, 22 April 2021

PQ: 22nd April 2021

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-02-19.154863.h

Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Registered Public Service Interpreters in the list of occupations the Government classes as key workers for the purposes of priority access to covid-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

No such assessment has been made. If Registered Public Service Interpreters are captured in phase one or two due to age or clinical need, then they will be vaccinated accordingly. However, there are currently no plans to vaccinate by occupation.

Monday, 19 April 2021

PQ: 19th April 2021

https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-03-25.176069.h

Ministry of Justice: Interpreters

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 19th April 2021.

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, whether interpreters which hold (a) Level 1 foundation in public service interpreting, a two-to-four-week course, (b) Level 2 public service interpreting qualifications, (c) Level 3 and Level 4 community service interpreting qualifications, A-level standard, (d) a bachelor’s degree in philology but no public service interpreting qualifications and (e) a bachelor’s degree in linguistics but no public service interpreting qualifications are accepted on his Department's list of interpreters.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of interpreters on his Department's list of interpreters engaged by HM Courts and Tribunal Service have a Level 6, Bachelor’s degree level, Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) or Diploma in Police Interpreting (DPI).

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what steps HM Courts and Tribunals Service is taking to ensure that interpreters are on his Department's list of interpreters in order to improve the vetting of evidence relating to their experience and qualifications.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, if his Department will make an estimate of the number of interpreters on his Department's list of interpreters engaged by HM Courts and Tribunal Service who (a) hold a Level 6 public service qualification and (b) have more than 400 hours’ public service interpreting experience that comply with the National Register of Public Service Interpreter’s Code of Professional Conduct.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how many and what proportion of interpreters have been referred to The Language Shop for independent assessment; and what proportion of those interpreters have been reinstated since 2019.

 

Apsana Begum Labour, Poplar and Limehouse

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, how long it takes to complete the justice system training course for interpreters; and which organisation oversees that course.

 

Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The MoJ does not directly employ interpreters. The MoJ commissions the services of suitably qualified interpreters through its contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

MoJ accepts individuals who hold (a) Level 1 foundation in public service interpreting, a two-to-four-week course, (b) Level 2 public service interpreting qualifications, (c) Level 3 and Level 4 community service interpreting qualifications, A-level standard, (d) a bachelor’s degree in philology but no public service interpreting qualifications and (e) a bachelor’s degree in linguistics onto the MoJ Register. They would however only be engaged in work for MoJ if other requirements are also met. These requirements include the hours of experience they have, the complexity of the booking itself and whether the language in question is considered as rare or otherwise.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. All interpreters are also required to complete a justice system specific training course before they are permitted to join the MoJ’s interpreter register.

The full details of the standards required for our Language Professionals is set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Currently there are 1073 interpreters across the MoJ register that hold a Diploma in Public Service Interpreting (DPSI) or Diploma in Police Interpreting (DPI). The number of interpreters listed on the MoJ register fluctuates regularly. The data that has been provided here is accurate to March 2021. Each interpreter has only been counted once irrespective of whether they hold multiple DPSI’s/DPI in different languages.

Evidence of public service interpreting is vetted and accredited via references obtained by our Service Provider thebigword. Thebigword contacts each of the referees to validate all of the information that has been provided.

The hours of experience that are required to be evidenced varies according to the complexity levels and the language itself (rare or otherwise) The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements that interpreters must meet.

The MoJ does not hold information regarding the number of interpreters that hold a Level 6 public service qualification and (b) have more than 400 hours’ public service interpreting experience that comply with the National Register of Public Service Interpreter’s Code of Professional Conduct. as there is no requirement to do so within the contract.

Data concerning NRPSI registration is not routinely recorded and is not a requirement of working for the MoJ. The MoJ requires all interpreters to abide by a code of conduct specific to the MoJ. This code of conduct forms part of their contract with the Service Providers under the language services contract.

Since 1st January 2019, 118 unique language professionals have had either a spot check or an In Person Assessment (IPA) performed by The Language Shop as the result of a referral, 59 of these passed their spot check/IPA and were not removed from the register. Of the 59 that failed their first assessment 5 of these have successfully completed an In-Person Assessment to enable them to re-join the register.

The Justice Sector programme is facilitated by the International School of Linguists Ltd and takes approximately 4 hours to complete.

Thursday, 25 February 2021

PQ: 25th February 2021

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-02-22.156382.h

Courts and Tribunals: Interpreters

Ministry of Justice written question – answered on 25th February 2021.

Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what guidance his Department provides to courts and tribunals on the employment of interpreters.

Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what assessment he has made of trends in the level of use of unregistered interpreters in courts and tribunals.

Alex Cunningham Shadow Minister (Justice)

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice, what safeguards his Department has put in place to ensure that interpreters used in court and tribunal hearings are qualified to undertake the role.

Chris Philp The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high-quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The MoJ does not directly employ interpreters. We commission the services of suitably qualified interpreters through contracted service providers, thebigword and Clarion Interpreting.

Detailed guidance and training modules are provided to courts and tribunals staff responsible for booking interpreters through the MoJ’s Language Services to ensure they follow the correct processes and book suitably qualified interpreters.

Interpreters provided by our contracted language service providers are sourced from the MoJ’s register. Only interpreters that meet the department’s contractual requirements are included on the register, which is managed and audited by an independent language service provider.

The MoJ regularly reviews the level of unfulfilled bookings, which may result in the use of interpreters not sourced from the departmental register, to identify trends and to require remedial action to be taken where appropriate. Fulfilment of bookings remains consistent at circa 97%, with the main reason for unfulfillment being short notice bookings of a rare language requirement.

The contract has a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. All interpreters are also required to complete a justice system specific training course before they are permitted to join the MoJ’s interpreter register.

The contract sets out the minimum level of qualification and experience a language professional is required to have in order to work on each complexity level of booking. Details of these qualifications can be found at: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137

The MoJ’s contracted service provider is required to hold evidence of these credentials, which are subject to an additional safeguard in the form of an annual audit conducted by the department’s contracted provider of independent language service quality assurance, The Language Shop (part of the London Borough of Newham).

The Language Shop make regular and independent assessments of interpreters carrying out assignments via the MoJ’s language services contracts. This includes a check of the qualifications held by the interpreter to ensure they meet the requirements of the contract between the department and the supplier.

Complaints about the quality of interpreting or professional conduct are referred to The Language Shop for independent assessment. Interpreters are suspended from the MoJ register pending the outcome and are not reinstated unless The Language Shop confirms that the requisite standards have been met.

The complaint rate is monitored closely as part of robust contract governance processes. The rate remains low at less than 1%, which suggests there is no systemic issue with the quality of interpreting provided.

 

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

PQ: 24th February 2021

 https://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2021-02-19.154863.h

Coronavirus: Vaccination

Department of Health and Social Care written question – answered on 24th February 2021.

Diana R. Johnson Labour, Kingston upon Hull North

To ask the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, what assessment he has made of the potential merits of including Registered Public Service Interpreters in the list of occupations the Government classes as key workers for the purposes of priority access to covid-19 vaccination.

Nadhim Zahawi Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Parliamentary Under-Secretary for Health and Social Care

The Department of Health and Social Care has indicated that it will not be possible to answer this question within the usual time period. An answer is being prepared and will be provided as soon as it is available.

Monday, 22 February 2021

CPS to write to defence teams linked to unqualified court interpreter

https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/news/cps-to-write-to-defence-teams-linked-to-unqualified-court-interpreter/5107515.article

22 February 2021 by Monidipa Fouzder

CPS to write to defence teams linked to unqualified court interpreter

The Crown Prosecution Service will write to defence teams in cases linked to an unqualified court interpreter so they can consider whether to take further action, the Gazette has learned.

Last week City of London Police reported that Mirwais Patang, 27, of Hillingdon, stole the identity of a court interpreter and provided services to the courts in 140 cases despite having no qualifications to do so. He was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, at Southwark Crown Court. He must also complete 300 hours of unpaid work. 

The Ministry of Justice told the Gazette that it has identified all the cases where Patang was booked to provide services. They all took place before July 2016. The CPS will be writing to defence teams in the criminal cases linked to Patang.

An MoJ spokesperson said: ‘Since 2016, interpreters have been subject to robust checks on their identity, employment history and qualifications, which are then further scrutinised and quality-assured by an independent contractor.’

The ministry said it has a separate contract with the Language Shop to quality-assure the translation and interpretation service provided under the language services contracts. This includes a rolling audit of language professionals who undertake work on behalf of the MoJ and real-time assessments of interpreters.

Meanwhile, the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI), an independent, voluntary regulator, has written to the ministry with its concerns and recommendations. The NRPSI was set up in 1994 following a recommendation by the Runciman Royal Commission on Criminal Justice.

A national register of the highest qualified interpreters has existed for 27 years; more than 90% of those registered are qualified to honours degree level (level 6) or above in the skills required to work in a public service setting.

NRPSI is calling for interpreters already registered with the national register to be used by the criminal justice system. Its letter also proposes extending the registration and regulation process to public service interpreters at levels 3 and 4 to stabilise ‘what seems to be a “Wild West” situation where bilinguals with absolutely no training are entering the ecosystem and then being used in public service interpreting roles for which they are not trained, qualified and do not have the experience’.

 

Thursday, 18 February 2021

Daughter had to tell her deaf father he was dying as hospital couldn't get sign language interpreter

https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/health/daughter-had-tell-her-deaf-father-he-was-dying-hospital-couldnt-get-sign-language-interpreter-3139031

18th February 2021

A daughter had to tell her deaf father that he had just weeks to live because the hospital couldn’t get a sign language interpreter for him.

The man, known only as Ronnie, died two weeks after discovering he had terminal cancer. While in hospital he couldn’t lip read as staff wore masks and he was left frightened and isolated.

His wife Sue, who is also deaf, shared the heartbreaking story as part of an awareness campaign with Healthwatch Sheffield and Citizens Advice Sheffield. […]