MoJ still claims it has saved millions with Capita
I received a letter from my MP this week with a response he got to my email from Helen Grant. In my email I expressed my disappointment at Ms Grant’s confidence about the government saving 15 million pounds on court interpreters in the past year without giving any accurate figures to support this statement. I pointed out that such claims would be more convincing if the Ministry of Justice published the exact spending figures for the years prior to the Capita contract, for the first year of the Capita contract operating and the spending outside of the contract when other suppliers were used in the same period.
I was also interested to get feedback on another issue I raised in my previous correspondence: the government’s justification to amend the contract with Capita at the cost of the tax-payer which was described as “affordable”. At the time of severe cuts in public spending, which I believe was one of the reasons for the court interpreting reform, the Ministry of Justice made a controversial decision to increase payments under the contract and make the public pay for it. Apart from everything else, it looked illogical to me and raised the question of legality.
Below is Helen Grant’s response. She continues giving estimates and not exact figures for pre-Capita spending figures and for out-of-contract spending after Capita took over. Estimates, of course, are very convenient to give as they cannot be verified. I wonder, however, if such estimates include figures attributed to police forces booking interpreters for court appearances on remands and arrest warrants. As an example, I’d give Lincolnshire Police which started such court bookings with Capita in February 2012 but abandoned the agency reverting back to Cintra in March 2012. Are such figures accounted for anywhere at all? I think I know the answer.