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Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Judge tries to source interpreter from CHINESE TAKEAWAYS as private company fails to provide one

29 July 2014

Judge tries to source interpreter from CHINESE TAKEAWAYS as private company fails to provide one
In the latest farce to hit the privatised courts, outsourcing giant Capita did not provide a Mandarin speaker for the case against Sun Liu in Cardiff
A fuming judge asked a lawyer to trawl Chinese takeaways for a stand-in interpreter as the Government’s botched courts privatisation hit a new low.
Judge Burr had already adjourned the case against Sun Liu at Cardiff Crown Court once, as no Mandarin interpreter was provided by outsourcing giant Capita.
After another no-show the next day Judge Burr asked Liu’s lawyer to search local restaurants for help. The barrister refused and the case was adjourned a second time.
Shadow Justice Minister Andy Slaughter raged: “This is the latest example of how the criminal justice system under David Cameron has descended into a complete farce.”
Liu was in court on July 16 after allegedly failing to attend court in relation to offences of importing banned goods. She denies all charges.
The case finally got underway today, almost two weeks late.
It is just one of thousands of cases each year which have been delayed or abandoned since the Government privatised the court interpreter service in 2012.
Mr Slaughter said: “The interpreters’ contract shambles has been widely documented - but even by this Government’s standards this is embarrassing.”
Official figures show almost 2,500 court cases were disrupted in the first three months of this year alone. The number of interpreters turning up late has also soared by 50 per cent over the last 12 months.
Capita earns £18million-a-year from the contract but has never met its target of providing interpreters in 98 per cent of cases.
The service was revealed to be in “total chaos” by the Commons public accounts committee in December 2012.
In May, the country’s most senior family court judge said the situation was “unacceptable”.
Sir James Munby, head of the Family Division, was furious that two Slovak interpreters booked for an adoption hearing on 7 May failed to turn up.
Mr Slaughter said tonight: “It is depressing that over two years after Capita took over court interpreting and translating services, they’ve still not got the basics right.”
Capita claimed it had “no record of unfulfilled bookings” at Cardiff Crown Court for the specific case in July.
The Government insisted the botched privatisation has saved millions of pounds.
Tory Courts Minister Shailesh Vara said: “As a result of the contract, we have spent £27million less in the first two years it has been running, and it continues to reduce the burden on taxpayers.
“We will continue to drive further improvement in performance to deliver value for money for the taxpayer.”

Monday, 28 July 2014

Poor interpretation

28 July 2014 by Malcolm Fowler

Poor interpretation
Minister Shailesh Vara assures parliament that there is less and ever less to worry about over interpreter delivery through Capita. He has that on the highest authority: Capita itself, a wholly disinterested party – not.
As against that: 2,480 cases disrupted due to the lack of an interpreter; a marked rise in interpreters’ late arrival; still a significant falling back on the old, tried and tested arrangement pre-framework agreement.
So many instances in a quarter is scarcely small beer. How is it a cause for rejoicing that the figure was even higher for the last quarter of last year? There were no such major shortfalls before.
There is no computation of the hidden costs of delays and disruption, let alone the less measurable costs in emotional damage for parties to proceedings, to the rule of law and its blood brother public confidence in the criminal justice system. It is meaningless, therefore, to speak airily and arrogantly about savings made.
Interesting, is it not, that neither the Ministry of Justice nor Capita even bother any longer to respond to my several outstanding complaints.
Justice demands a return to candour and sanity, and sooner rather than later.
Malcolm Fowler, Dennings, Tipton, West Midlands

Defence told to trawl Chinatown for interpreter

28 July 2014 by Catherine Baksi

Defence told to trawl Chinatown for interpreter
A Crown court judge asked a defence barrister to trawl the Chinese restaurants of Cardiff to find an interpreter after the company contracted to provide translators failed to do so on two occasions.
The Gazette has learned that Liu Sun was taken to Cardiff Crown Court on 16 July after being arrested on a warrant in relation to offences of importing prohibited goods. She denies the charges.
His Honour Judge Burr adjourned the case until the following day as no Mandarin interpreter had been provided by Capita.
When the case returned to court on 17 July there was still no interpreter, prompting the judge to make the request, which the defence barrister declined to carry out.
On the third occasion the defendant was brought to court, an interpreter was provided.
A similar problem had occurred at the same court on 15 July when the case of another Chinese defendant, Liu Guiying, had to be adjourned.
Last week the Ministry of Justice published the latest quarterly statistics on the court interpreter contract, which showed that for the first three months of 2014 the number of fulfilled requests rose, although the figure remains below the 98% contractual commitment.
Of 45,100 requests made by courts and tribunals, Capita provided an interpreter in 94.5% of cases, suggesting that 2,480 cases were potentially disrupted due to the lack of an interpreter.
In relation to the first case, a spokeswoman for Capita said the company ‘does not have a record of unfulfilled bookings for Cardiff Crown Court that match the name and dates provided’.
On the second, she said Capita assigned an interpreter but that the court had made the booking for the wrong time and the interpreter could not make the revised time. She said Capita ‘continued to try and source an alternative interpreter up until the day of the booking and kept the court fully informed throughout’. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

Hundreds of cases left without interpreter

18 July 2014 by Catherine Baksi

Hundreds of cases left without interpreter
Hundreds of court cases requiring an interpreter were disrupted in the first quarter as outsourcer Capita continued to fall short of its required performance target.
The statistics for the first three months of 2014 show a rise in the number of requests fulfilled, although the figure remains well below its contractual commitment of 98%.
The number of requests for an interpreter rose to 45,100 – the highest since the contract began in January 2012.
The percentage of requests completed rose by 4% from the last quarter of 2013 - to 94.5% - equal to the previous peak in the third quarter of 2012.
But this means there were still 2,480 cases disrupted due to the lack of an interpreter. At no point since the contract began has Capita reached the 98% performance target.
The data shows the overall number of complaints about the service have fallen to the lowest number since the contract began.
There were 1,000 (2.2% of cases) complaints, down by 21% from the 1,200 in the last three months of 2013 and a 54% fall compared to the 2,100 complaints made in the first quarter of 2013.
There were 400 (45% of complaints) complaints due to no interpreter being available – down from 1,200 in the same period of 2013.
But the figures show a marked rise in the number of cases where an interpreter arrived late – 300 complaints, compared to 200 in the first quarter of 2013.
Off-contract bookings, where courts did not use Capita interpreters but contacted them privately, dropped to 700, compared to 900 in the last three months of 2013.
A Capita spokesperson said: ‘The number of completed requests continues to increase quarter on quarter with fulfilment rates continuing to track to the target level of service required. A continuous programme of improvements are being implemented as we work together with stakeholders and is showing a positive outcome in terms of quality and service levels, notably, the rate of complaints for this quarter is lower than the same period in 2013.
‘We expect future figures to demonstrate an improvement to fulfilment rates and a continued reduction in complaints as well as continually delivering significant savings to the Ministry of Justice.
‘Capita Translation & Interpreting requires interpreters to sign up to a code of conduct policy which stipulates arrival on time. Failure to adhere to the code of conduct could result in interpreters being removed from our register.’