Alleged savings on interpreting budget
According to MoJ figures, Capita was paid £8,513,829 for fulfilling 95,010 assignments for the 11 months ending December 2013. Assuming they were paid at a similar rate for assignments in January 2013, the figures for the first full year of the FWA should be £9,392,901 for 104,820 assignments, which works out to an average of £89.61 per booking. At £31/hour, this means the average booking lasts for 2 hours and 53 minutes. In their response to the Framework tender document, ALS gave examples of how much the MoJ could save by no longer paying a minimum 3 hour fee, and ‘…based on our data that shows 80% of Police assignments last between 1.5 and 2 hours, 10% are less than one hour and the remaining 10% are over two hours….’ What we can now see is that the actual average duration of an assignment is more like 3 hours, which renders ALS’ estimates of savings invalid. Quite why assignments take longer now is anyone’s guess, though one reason may be that the pace of proceedings is slower so that the Capita ‘linguist’ can keep up.
If one considers that for every £31 paid to Capita, an average of £20 is paid to the linguist, the whole pot of money distributed to the approx. 1300 linguists claimed to be working for Capita is about £6.06m, which works out to an average of £4,661 each. Not bad for a whole years work, I don’t think.
Helen Grant claims the MoJ has saved £15m this year thanks to the FWA, which works out at about £143 per booking. This seems remarkably high considering most of what the MoJ saves is in not paying travel expenses. Can it be true? Do travel expenses represent 61% of total costs? I doubt it when you consider that ALS previously estimated that 25% of MoJ spending on interpreting services was for reimbursement of travel expenses. Perhaps Ms Grant has based her estimate of savings on the typical distances now being covered by Capita linguists.
Perhaps it’s time the Public Accounts Committee requested Ms Grant to appear before them with a complete audited breakdown of where this £15m figure comes from.