MoJ says interpreter "spot checks" were conducted on online booking system, not by onsite court visits
Interpreters Project Team
Ministry of Justice
102 Petty France
6th September 2012
Our ref: FOI/76723
Dear Ms McCafferty
Thank you for your email of 8 June, in which you ask for the following information in relation to the publication of performance data concerning the provision of interpreters/translators for courts and tribunal hearings:
“Further to the comment made by an MoJ spokesman on 31st May 2012 to the Law Society Gazette, specifically ‘the figures were given to the MoJ by Applied and verified by spot checks carried out by the courts service, the MoJ said’, please confirm how and exactly where such spot checks were done”.
Your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act 2000 (FoIA). I apologise for the delay in response.
Your request seems to be asking which courts were spot checked and how such checks were completed. It may help if I confirm that the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) does not hold the information you have requested in a recordable form as checks are conducted on real time data on the interpreters booking system as it is received from the courts and not by onsite court visits.
However, for your advice and assistance I have below informed you how ‘spot checks’ are conducted by MoJ. All the following information is being provided to you outside the terms of the FOIA, and on a discretionary basis, as it is not the specific information you have requested, but it might be of interest,
I can inform you that the Procurement Department has periodically carried out ‘spot checks’ on the Management Information provided by Applied Language Solutions to ensure that it covers all data inputted into the booking system by the courts, that it matches to information on the system and that all complaints raised are included.
I can also tell you that the MoJ published a statistical report on the use of interpreters on 24 May. This publication included the number of requests for interpreters, the number and proportion of requests completed, and the number of complaints received. The report can be found at: http://www.justice.gov.uk/statistics/courts-and-sentencing/language-services-in-use
In addition, I am pleased to advise you that statistics on ineffective trials due to interpreter related issues were published on 28 June 2012 and are available at:
I am sorry that on this occasion I have not been able to be of more assistance but I have provided you all the information held by MoJ on how and where spot checks are conducted on the information provided by ALS.
You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details can be found in the ‘How to Appeal’ section attached to this letter.