Privatisation of court interpretation services is causing problems, admits justice minister Crispin Blunt

 

Justice minister Crispin Blunt admitted today there had been "problems" with the recent privatisation of court interpretation services but insisted the situation was "rapidly improving".

There have been complaints from interpreters that they are facing worse pay and conditions under the new private contract with Applied Language Solutions (ALS).

Since the new system began on February 1, proceedings have been held up by the failure of interpreters to turn up or demonstrate the necessary competence in court, it has been claimed.

David Evans, chairman of the Lincolnshire branch of the Magistrates' Association, told BBC Radio 4's Today programme: "I've heard words like 'disaster' and 'chaos' used and I don't think they are too strong at the moment.

"The contract's been up and running now since February 1 - surely that's time for a large company to get its act together."

Mr Blunt told Today that ALS was "the best" company to apply for the contract and had since been taken over by professional services firm Capita and so had "substantial resources behind them to make sure this works".

"There have been problems with the start of the new contract, but we are replacing a system that was administratively decrepit frankly, and very expensive and very open to abuse, and so I'm satisfied that we are now rapidly improving the delivery of the new arrangements and we will get over this bedding-in period," he said.

The minister said the previous system had been "so inefficient and so decrepit" that the Ministry of Justice would make "substantial savings" under the deal, and that ALS would be held to the terms agreed.

"Obviously our contract is with ALS, ALS are then going to have to find the right market rate for supply and demand for interpreters to make the system work satisfactorily. We hold them to their contracted price with us," he said.

"I'm completely satisfied that the system was so bad before that they will actually make a proper, normal profit on this service and we will get to a place where interpreters are being much more efficiently administered, they will have much more work to do, the use of their time will be significantly improved and this will be better for interpreters and the whole of the justice system."

PA

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
News
peopleComedian launches stinging attack on PM
Life and Style
The collection displayed Versace’s softer side, with models wearing flowers and chiffon dresses in unusual colourings
fashionVersace haute couture review
News
Andy Murray shakes hands after defeating Andreas Seppi of Italy in the third round of Wimbledon, Saturday 4 July, 2015
Wimbledon
Arts and Entertainment
'The Leaf'
artYes, it's a leaf, but a potentially very expensive one
News
Yoko Ono at the Royal Festival Hall for Double Fantasy Live
people'I wont let him destroy memory of John Lennon or The Beatles'
News
Could Greece leave the EU?
news
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'