PIA enlightened HMCTS boss Peter Handcock in March 2012
Those of you who were unimpressed by HMCTS Chief Executive Peter Handcock's performance before the Public Accounts Committee on 15 October may recall his earlier oral evidence to the Justice Select Committee on 6 March 2012.
Mr Handcock's grasp of the true state of affairs appears little improved since March 2012 and it seems that he continues to take ALS/Capita at its word when he asserts that things are improving. This, in spite of the fact that ALS/Capita was exposed by the National Audit Office report as having been operating in serious breach of contract in multiple regards.
After watching Mr Handcock in the Justice Committee hearing in March, directors of the Professional Interpreters Alliance wrote to him to provide him with the information he needed. We also referred him to the Linguist Lounge Website - I wonder if he is a regular visitor now?
The following message was sent to Peter Handcock through the intermediary of the Tribunals Interpreter Booking & Services Manager and her senior manager, on 8 March 2012:
From: Professional Interpreters' Alliance
Sent: 08 March 2012 11:34
To: Interpreter Service Team
Subject: HMCTS Chief exec before Justice committee
Dear Ms Hack,
The Professional Interpreters' Alliance is extremely concerned to note how ill-informed HMCTS Chief Executive Mr Peter Handcock appeared to be regarding the true state of affairs with interpreters in HMCTS when he gave evidence before the HOC Justice Committee on 6 March (I'm attaching a transcript produced by me from the video footage).
Mr Handcock characterised the problem as one of supply and appears oblivious that many people sent to court assignments by ALS Ltd are unqualified, not vetted, and without experience. Figures released by ALS stated that 35% of courts were unaffected - meaning that 65% of courts were disrupted and countless non-English speaking defendants held in custody unnecessarily. The mounting costs to the Taxpayer risk outstripping the imagined savings with more and more defence solicitors making Wasted Costs Applications to central funds. Miscarriages of justice are sure to ensue.
I would be grateful if you would refer Mr Handcock to the links here. Also, I can particularly recommend this website. HMCTS Executives should be aware that 60% of Registered Public Service Interpreters refuse to work for ALS Ltd and most are also refusing direct court bookings under the interim arrangement whereby HMCTS seeks to fill the gaps by using RPSIs as a plan B. We will not assist in the extinction of our professional standards.
The Professional Interpreters' Alliance and other organisations have provided evidence of ALS's failures in the CJS sector to the Ministry of Justice since 2010. It was ignored by civil servants and Justice MPs. The MoJ also received strong representations from all professional organisations in 2011 warning it not to pursue this contract. We have plenty of evidence that the ALS Ltd contract is not performing and we and other interpreter organisations would be pleased to meet with Mr Handcock to discuss these cases with him.
Please forward this message to the Chief Executive.
Director, Professional Interpreters' Alliance