13 August 2021 by Monidipa Fouzder
MoJ rules out court interpreting review following private equity investment
The Ministry of Justice has confirmed it will not be reviewing thebigword’s court interpreting contract after the language services company announced a ‘partnership’ with a US private capital investment firm.
Larry Gould, who founded thebigword in 1980, said his Leeds-headquartered company had joined forces with Susquehanna Private Capital.
Susquehanna’s website states that it looks for ‘companies led by founders, entrepreneurs, and operators who are passionate about growing their businesses and value our patient capital’ to invest in. Its portfolio includes Florida-headquartered College Hunks Hauling Junk & Moving, Mosquito Authority, lifestyle brand Hint, and manufacturing and engineering company McNally Industries.
Last week’s announcement prompted the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) to ask the Ministry of Justice to review thebigword’s contract.
NRPSI executive director Mike Orlov said: ‘NRPSI believes that such a material change in ownership of the MoJ's principal language services contractor warrants a re-appraisal of the supplier holding the contract. It is a matter of due diligence to know exactly who is delivering such an important public service.’
However, a spokesperson for the MoJ told the Gazette that its ‘thorough due diligence has not identified any reason the existing contract should not be honoured’.
The new investor was reviewed by the MoJ, Government Legal Department and Cabinet Office, who were satisfied with guarantees that there will be no operational changes or impact on service delivery.
Thebigword took over from Capita Translation and Interpreting in October 2016 to provide face-to-face interpretation and translation (including telephone and video), and translation and transcription. Capita, which bid for one of the four lots under the 2016 contract, acquired Applied Language Solutions (ALS) four months after ALS was awarded a contract to provide interpretation and translation services.