Capita called in to explain non-attendance of interpreters again
The Crown Court at St Albans
Thursday 1 November 2012
Court 2 - sitting at 10:30 AM
HIS HONOUR JUDGE WARNER
Committal for Breaches
S20120439 SHAH (SYED) Ashfaq
Interpreter required. ALS to send a representative
This case required a BSL and a Deaf Relay interpreter. All attended and I watched the hearing from the public gallery – I found it very interesting as I had never seen sign language interpreting in court, let alone one involving a Deaf Relay interpreter.
After a relatively short hearing a representative (a Barrister) of ALS (now trading as Capita Translation and Interpreting) was called to explain why no interpreters had been provided at the previous hearing on 18 October 2012.
He stated that ALS sub-contracts the sourcing of BSL and Deaf Relay interpreters to Clarion (80% of assignments) and to Sign Solutions (20% overflow). This has been approved by the Ministry of Justice. There are about 800 fully qualified BSL interpreters in the UK, of which only about half are fully accredited. There are only about 40 Deaf Relay interpreters in the UK – this is a niche sellers' market and difficult to source. SL interpreters can only work for one and a half hours without a break. ALS would prefer to be given at least 14 days' advance notice of a booking.
In this case, the request for interpreters was made to ALS on 9 October and forwarded to Clarion and Sign Solutions. On 11 October Clarion declined the request as none of their staff and freelancers were available. Sign Solutions did not decline and continued to try to access interpreters for 18 October. On 17 October an automated email was sent to the court at 14:00 hrs to say no interpreter had been allocated. This used to be sent later, but now the courts have imposed this new deadline. The email said that Sign Solutions had not been able to assign an interpreter to the job, but was still sourcing and would update the court later. No interpreters attended the following day and as a result the hearing had to be adjourned.
Copies of the emails were presented to the Judge, who said that in this case he could not make an order for wasted costs against ALS/Capita, as the court had been made aware the day before the hearing that ALS had not been able to fulfil this booking.
A Deaf Relay Interpreter is used when a deaf person has a specific language need, has a disability or uses a different sign language, and works with a BSL / English Interpreter to assist with communication and monitor understanding.