New figures reveal ALS struggling to cope
CrimeLine reports that 40% of cases requiring an interpreter were disrupted due to no interpreter attending during the week 16th – 20th April 2012.
The figures do not reflect, however, how many ALS interpreters were provided for 60% of those hearings when an interpreter did attend. Courts across England and Wales continue using a dual booking system where listings officers refer to registered interpreters direct or contact other commercial interpreting agencies if Capita-owned Applied Language Solutions can’t supply a linguist.
There have been cases when courts preferred to ring round NRPSI interpreters avoiding going to ALS in the first instance all together.
Crimeline also identified that timeliness of attendance became an increasing problem.
In a response to a Freedom of Information Request dated 17th April regarding the circumstances in which court staff are permitted to source interpreters from organisations or individuals not associated with ALS, the HM Courts and Tribunal Service official stated: "We will be constantly reviewing performance over that period and these arrangement will remain in place until we are clear that the contractor is able to meet demand".
This is a clear acknowledgement that ALS is still unable to cope with all bookings. The question is how long will this new system be allowed to continue? It has been demonstrated that it’s ineffective, irrational and costly, considering that other resources have to be used. The Ministry of Justice can easily terminate this Framework Agreement just on performance indicators alone.