Courts flood interpreters with direct calls as hopeless Capita continues to struggle
A colleague from London reported attending the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal last Friday where it turned out that, over a year into the Framework Agreement, the Tribunal, also based in London, preferred the Loughborough Tribunal Service over Capita when it came to searching for interpreters. The total of 15 interpreters (4 x Bengali, 2 x Turkish, Farsi, French and Lingala, and 1 x Urdu, Spanish and Portuguese) were booked by the Loughborough service for the Taylor House court by calling individual interpreters directly, a method that the Framework Agreement was designed to replace.
Another colleague was working on an assignment in a Bristol police station when she was flooded by calls from the nearby Bristol Crown Court. Showing clear signs of desperation, different court listings officers called her over 5 times asking her to attend the afternoon court session where Capita had yet again failed to provide an interpreter. When the colleague explained to the listings officer that she had to finish the job in the police station before going anywhere, the listings officer didn’t give up and called the police station asking to temporarily release the interpreter as a matter of urgency. When in court, it turned out that the case had previously been adjourned a number of times due to a series of Capita failures and the listings staff were prepared to go to extremes when searching for an interpreter because the judge was ‘furious’. In a brief discussion that followed the conclusion of the case, the court clerk explained to the judge that ‘unfortunately’ the old system could not be used any more, the new system was ‘completely unreliable’ and that he hoped that ‘action will be taken to bring things back to normal’
There were over 10 other calls reported on the 11th of January, likely a small fraction as only information about a small percentage of direct calls gets e-mailed to us. The calls that our colleagues e-mailed us about included Greater Manchester Police searching for a Chinese interpreter and a Sussex court searching for a Lithuanian interpreter. Although availability of local interpreters that work in the given languages in respective areas had never been a problem prior to the Framework Agreement, interpreters that reported the above calls lived 50-100 miles away.
Interpreters can submit information about direct calls on our colleague’s wesite at http://rpsi.name/default/calls.html
You can also inform us about direct calls by e-mailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.