About us

Wednesday, 21 February 2018

"assessments without an interpreter"

21 February 2018

[…] The PPO report also found Wandsworth had failed to communicate effectively with Mr Pagirys.
Staff at the prison had repeatedly found that the Lithuanian, who struggled with English, was not suffering from mental health problems during assessments without an interpreter, the PPO said.
But when assessed using a translator, a GP agreed to prescribe him with antidepressants and sleeping pills. […]

Monday, 19 February 2018

‘Privatised service impeding justice’

19 Feb 2018

‘Privatised service impeding justice’
Shadow Justice Secretary Richard Burgon has criticised the “ideologically driven” privatisation of the court interpreting service which he claims could lead to justice being denied for the victims and the accused.
Mr Burgon’s spokesman said official figures revealed that more than 3,200 magistrates and crown court trials have been adjourned since the privatisation of the court interpreting service in January 2012 due to the lack of an interpreter.
However, a spokesman for Leeds-based thebigword, which supplies interpreters for court cases, said it was misleading to claim that interpreting services in courts and tribunals were not functioning properly.
A spokesman for Mr Burgon said that the number of complaints in the first 12 months of the new contract for court interpreting services was 2,339, which is an increase on the 1,733 complaints made in the last year of the old contract.
The Ministry of Justice contract for providing interpreters for court and tribunal services has been held by thebigword since 2016. It was held by Capita from 2012 to 2016.
Mr Burgon said: “A failure to ensure a properly functioning interpretation service seriously risks justice being denied for victims and those accused.
“It is a worrying sign of ongoing failure that complaints are up in the first 12 months since the new contract was awarded, compared to a year earlier.
“The Government must take swift action to put an end to the flaws in this system that mean almost half of all these complaints are for things as basic as an interpreter not attending court or not being available.
“The Government needs to explain how it is so sure that its contracts are cost effective when it revealed, in response to my Parliamentary questions, that it doesn’t even hold the basic information on the wider costs to our justice system of thousands of cases each year that need an interpreter not being fulfilled.”
A Ministry of Justice spokesman said: “We have strong contract management in place, and our most recent statistics show that 98 per cent of interpreter bookings are fulfilled, and complaints are at one per cent.
“It is vital that victims, witnesses and defendants understand what is happening in court to ensure justice is done, and we will always take steps to make sure a qualified interpreter is provided when needed.”
The spokesman added that, while the Ministry of Justice accepts that any delayed hearing due to a lack of interpretation is unacceptable, such instances are few.
The most recent published statistics for ineffective trial rates, which covers the third quarter of 2017, show a lack of interpreter availability was the reason for 0.3 per cent of trials being ineffective in the magistrates’ court, and 0.1 per cent of crown court trials, the spokeswoman said.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Border Force calls checks in language communications firm at Heathrow

15 Feb 2018

Border Force calls checks in language communications firm at Heathrow
thebigword, the Leeds-headquartered translation and interpretation provider, has expanded its work supporting Border Force at Heathrow.
The law enforcement organisation is responsible for immigration and customs controls at the London aviation hub and processes more than 25 million passengers every year.
thebigword will provide telephone interpreting services to officials when dealing with passengers with limited English. The company’s interpreters are fully vetted and security cleared.
Larry Gould, founder and chief executive of thebigword, said: “Border Force does an extremely important job in securing our borders, promoting national prosperity and preventing terrorists and criminals from entering the UK.
“We are proud to be supporting Border Force’s efforts at Heathrow with our expert telephone interpreting services to ensure that all passengers are dealt with quickly and fairly.”