Public Accounts Committee hearing with Capita: Submission
Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee
24th October 2012
Re: Hearing into the National Audit Office report on the Ministry of Justice’s language services contract.
I am gratified that my submission of 11th October was considered, and that the Committee may also consider my later submission of 15th October. In light of the Justice Select Committee hearing which was held this week, I would like to make a further submission as follows:
I have previously requested information on the numbers of Tier 3 linguists on the register of linguists compiled by Capita, having assumed that Tier 1 and Tier 2 linguists would be generally considered as being qualified to interpret in the Justice sector. This was based on my belief that the linguist had to possess the ‘Partial’ DPSI (English Law option), but having re-read the NAO report, Fig. 9, it is now clear this is not the case. A Capita linguist can also be assessed as Tier 2 by having ‘….certain English and language-related degrees and diplomas…’, which are not necessarily recognised as being qualifications in interpreting. I would therefore submit that if the Committee is to ask Capita for the numbers of its Tier 3 linguists, it is essential that they also ask for the number of Tier 2 linguists, and that this should be further broken down into those that possess partial DPSI, and those that do not.
May I bring to the attention of the Committee a written answer from Oliver Heald MP (Solicitor General) to Jeremy Corbyn MP dated 22 October 2012 (Hansard source, Citation: HC Deb c632W). ‘…ALS….has completed its review and has provided assurances to the CPS that a full audit trail is now held in respect of all 1,100 interpreters on its list…’ In the NAO report Figure 3, a figure of 1,340 was given for the number of linguists on the ALS list at May 2012. This suggests that the pool of linguists available to Capita has reduced significantly in the intervening 5 months. This should be considered in the light of sec 3.18 of the NAO report which reads ‘….We have particular concerns about the availability of interpreters……attracting further interpreters may be difficult…..but it is essential if progress is to be made…’