Report on negotiations with the MOJ and talks with SW police forces
Society for Public Service Interpreting Ltd.
Wellington House East Road CAMBRIDGE CB1 1BH
Telephone: 01223-353692 Mobile: 07951580604
UPDATE of 07-03-2013:
Please see Items I and II below.
I.- Ministry of Justice meeting with Interpreter membership organisations
On 4th March the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) confirmed the invitation PI4J received on 25th Feb to a meeting with all interpreter membership organisations on 12th March at the MoJ. Please see below the MoJ’s proposed draft of the terms of reference. The PI4J Steering Committee (SC) discussed approach and tactics on 7th March, 2013. As explained in the SPSI update of 02-03-2013 following the seminar on 23rd Feb at this delicate stage, specifics must remain confidential. The MoJ draft also alludes to confidentiality and later circulation. Please see below.
“Working group on Incentives"
Meetings and workshops to be held at the Ministry of Justice unless otherwise specified.
Terms of Reference (draft):
To discuss options to incentivise interpreters to work under the Ministry of Justice Language Services Contract.
To explore changes to the Contract to attract interpreters who previously worked in the justice sector and encourage interpreters on Capita’s books to take more jobs under the Contract.
To consider ways to recruit new interpreters or those from other sectors.
All discussions to be in confidence but with agreed notes of progress that can be shared with interpreters.
The outcome of the workshops to be circulated to working group members.
The Minister and relevant officials will be kept informed of progress.
The findings of the working group to be made available for wider dissemination at a date to be determined.”
After the meeting of 12th March representatives of the 10 organisations constituting the PI4J will inform in a manner that is calculated to preserve the possibility of negotiations continuing and consistent with the line described in the update of 02-03-13: “colleagues can rest assured that the stance of the PI4J is the line set out in correspondence with the MoJ (circulated to colleagues by SPSI and other membership organisations) and explained in the meeting of 23-02-13.”
After the above meeting there will be, according to the MoJ letter, a further meeting between the minister, Helen Grant MP, and interpreter organisations.
Negotiations are moving towards a delicate and necessarily confidential stage.
II.- PI4J representation meeting on 6th. March with representatives of South Western Police forces
I was asked to speak on behalf of PI4J to a group of constabularies in the South West: Dorset, Devon& Cornwall, Gloucestershire, Wiltshire plus Avon & Somerset (lead force).
These forces meet regularly as Regional Custody Group, so they arranged a few meetings now dedicated solely to Interpreting and Translation Services. (Some of these forces announced recently that they were going to join TVP contract with Language Line, but they might have changed their mind now.).
Their collective yearly budget is between 4 and 5 million GBP. So almost as big as Met Police.
On 6th the police forces involved informed us as the meeting began that they are provisionally resolved NOT to use outsourcing, preferring to use their own interpreters plus any others that they may access in manners they are open to discussion with PI4J. The presentation (available on request) was about the features of the various collaborative models operating between the profession and police forces, (WITS, Cambridgeshire and the Met). As they insisted on talking about “economies” I told them that rates had not increased in 10 years and that cuts would mean that interpreters from survey data, would not be attracted to work for them. They responded that they do not seek to cut hourly rates, travel time or expenses and agreed that they needed to become more efficient.
I was ably supported by Tony Wilcox of WITS. It was good team work too.
The profession and the campaign did very well. I was able to send the chair a series of documents we have been generating. They were distributed and read.
Katrina Mayfield (interpreting manager, Cambridgeshire police) went to the West and spoke to them, convincing them they ought not to outsource, that they should work out a model or models that suited them and was the result of consultation with interpreters. The spend as already noted above, is huge, some £5 million a year on interpreting.
Tony in a very wise move has written a summary and submitted it to the chair. If confirmed it will firm things up nicely.
Below is the naturally more cautiously couched text sent by Tony Wilcox and agreed by the SW Region Police Forces:
As agreed by SW Region Police Forces:
Prof Makin and myself met with the South West region police forces today to discuss their future interpreter service provision. Prof Makin had provided pre-reads on the current situation regarding the MoJ Framework Agreement, and it certainly appeared that all present were well informed.
These Forces are seeking an interim solution whilst national issues appear to be stagnated. They believe that at present it is likely that they will not get the level of service they require via the FWA. They are considering all alternatives.
They have made it clear that it is essential that they cut their current level of expenditure in this area. Equally important to them is to ensure that they get the highest quality of service that is available. To that end they are keen to work with PI4J to ensure that whatever delivery method they chose, is supported by professional interpreters.
They did not discuss any favoured model at this time.
The meeting was positive and opens the door for future discussion.