Justice CommitteeSupplementary written evidence from the Ministry of Justice

Response to questions (item) from the Committee

Item no.


Attachment (where relevant) or answer



Copy of National Agreement 2007

Attached. (not printed)



Details of the short-notice booking pilot

The pilot consists of 20 criminal courts, consisting of 19 Magistrates Courts and 1 Crown. This has progressed well and both the Midlands and Northwest HMCTS regions will begin to return their short notice bookings to the contract, commencing with the Midlands from 22 October.

ALS provides booking services for interpreters in other areas and sectors; it is not possible to relate this to fulfilment or complaint statistics since some interpreters will choose only to work under one sector or contract, others may cover more than one.



Copy of the MoJ contract

The MoJ contract comprises the Framework Agreement with administration instructions and the relevant signature page, all attached (not printed).



Copy of the Better Trials Unit report from 30 March 2011 ‘Reforming the provision of interpretation and translation services’

The communication issued by the Better Trials Unit on 30 March 2011 comprised a letter to stakeholders with five additional documents on the proposals, all of which are attached.

This was a consultation exercise rather than a report.



Copy of the MoJ Internal Audit Report 2010

Attached. (not printed)



Copy of the conclusions of the procurement consultation exercise

This was not a consultation exercise run by procurement, but by the project team. The responses were summarised in the attached document.



Proportion of interpreters with ALS are new to justice sector

It is not possible to specify the precise proportion of interpreters who are new to the justice sector, as it would require a manual search of the records of each interpreter registered with ALS. We are aware that some are new to the sector from anecdotal evidence.



Request on ALS improvement in interpreters in less common languages. Are there any languages where the number of available interpreters has reduced in comparison to the previous arrangements? If so, how many languages and by what proportion?

   At the beginning of August 2012, data from the NRPSI and ALS registers was compared and identified where there were fewer than 10 interpreters on either register for a language or dialect.

   Those languages where there are fewer than 10 interpreters on NRPSI but more than 10 on the ALS register are those where ALS has improved language provision through the new arrangements: Albanian (Kosovo); Amharic; Croatian; Hindko; Kurdish (Bahdini and Kurmanji); Lingala; Potwari; Tigrinya; and Ukrainian.

   Only one language has more than 10 interpreters on NRPSI but fewer than 10 on the ALS register: Dutch.

Some languages had fewer than 10 interpreters on both registers (68 languages or dialects in total), and targeted recruitment by ALS is being carried out where possible. ALS has separate data on some of these rare languages used by the MoJ. The most commonly used of these (top 10 numbers of bookings) were, in descending order: Nepalese; Sinhala; Twi; Yoruba; Tagalog; Shona; Malayalam; Luganda; Mandinka; and Burmese.



Timetable of the business process work

The first tranche of issues were resolved through both the portal upgrade on 28 September 2012 and by circulating updated guidance to staff. The Project Board considered the remaining issues identified by this work area at its meeting on 4 October and agreed to the setting up of a working group to consider front line staff and judicial views on the relevant issues. A further tranche of issues will be put to the Project Board in November.

HMCTS business process maps, which document the end-to-end processes for the interpreter process in each of the jurisdictions, have been provided to the Project Board members for validation by their respective business areas.



Breakdown of complaint type

Statistics were published by the MoJ in May on the first 3 months of operation of the contract. These broke down the complaints by type in Tables 16–21, covering the overall picture and the picture by jurisdiction: http://www.justice.gov.uk/downloads/statistics/mojstats/language-stats/language-service-stats-jan12-april-12.pdf

Complaint types:

   Interpreter did not attend

   Interpreter quality

   Interpreter was late

   No interpreter available

   Operational issue

   Other Interpreter issue

   Time sheet error


Further statistics will be published later in October.



Breakdown of £15m savings and relation to costs

In brief:

   Estimated spend under previous system was £30 million per year.

   New contract spend February £6m, projected to £10 million over the first year. Off-contract spend (due to short notice bookings in the main) estimated at £4 million over the first year. Cost of ineffective trial increase in Magistrates’ Court estimated at £60,000; cost to other jurisdictions unavailable. Costs rounded up to £15 million, which totals £15 million savings.


September 2012

Prepared 4th February 2013