MoJ discloses Finance Process Guide for court interpreter bookings
In a response to this FOI request about payments made to Capita under the Framework Agreement the Ministry of Justice has disclosed the Finance Process Guide used by those responsible for booking interpreters through the ALS portal. A few relevant things have become clear:
- The MoJ does not pay Capita for travel time or travel expenses incurred by spoken language interpreters. On the other hand, travel costs for British Sign Language interpreters are passed on to the MoJ, as specified in the FWA.
- Total interpreter costs for each court can be easily extracted as they are linked to court accounting structures.
- Each booking is linked to an interpreter tier (not job tier) and the unit price is embedded automatically. This is an interesting detail. Capita says it pays linguists according to job tiers, not linguist tiers. So a Tier 1 interpreter will get paid a Tier 2 rate for a Tier 2 job. However, according to this guide, in the given example, the MOJ will pay a higher, Tier 1 rate.
- Court staff still have to sign interpreter timesheets verifying start and finish times. They then input them in the portal. The part about signing paper forms is interesting. One of the purposes of the FWA was to rectify administrative inefficiencies. As we see, the old paper form practice hasn’t gone.
- ALS does a monthly invoice and charges the MoJ via a lodge card through J P Morgan. J P Morgan then invoices the MoJ.
In Capita’s evidence included in the report published by the Public Accounts Committee Capita admitted it has already spent in excess of 5.4 million pounds, trying to make the contract work, including absorbing costs in relation to increased interpreter payments, incentives, travel costs, etc. As the majority of qualified registered interpreters are still refusing to sign up to the deal and are not interested in any potential proposed bonuses which would mean even further losses for Capita, how long is Capita prepared to withstand it?