Request for review of FOI request regarding numbers on LIT register
Dear Mr Lark,
Re: Response dated 27th August to my FOI request 84738.
In your response you stated that the MoJ does not hold this information, asserting ‘…that information is not held by MoJ because there is no legal, or business requirement for MoJ to hold the information being requested…’
May I take this opportunity to remind you what the Language Service Framework contract specifies? I am referring to document ref: Language Services Framework/JAH/CMTNorth/0811, final redacted version.
Page 102 – Specification, para 4;
‘The overarching deliverable from this work, which the Contractor must ensure in the provision of the Services, shall be:..’
There follows a list of items which include:
‘…6. Increasing numbers of suitably qualified and vetted interpreters/translators to meet local demand across England and Wales….’ and
‘…13. It is expected that the Bidders make themselves familiar with the new Directive on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings and the obligations within it. The Directive was adopted in October 2010 and has to be fully implemented within 36 months.
Areas which are brought to your attention:
Article 2(5) – Right to complain about the quality of interpretation
Member States shall ensure that the suspected or accused persons have the possibility to complain that the quality of the interpretation is not sufficient to safeguard the fairness of the proceedings.
Article 5(2) – Registers
Member States shall endeavour to establish a register or registers of independent translators and interpreters who are appropriately qualified. These registers shall be made available to legal counsel and relevant authorities. By “relevant authorities”, we mean all government organisations with a justice sector remit. This includes:
HMCTS; Police; Crown Prosecution Service; NOMS; Legal Services Commission; Other relevant prosecutors
By “made available”, we mean that relevant people should be able to either search on a website or ask for a copy of the register or make a telephone call and ask for information about, say, interpreters in Polish working in Cumbria. Contractors would then be obliged to give details…’
Under additional requirements:
‘…21. The Contractor shall produce a new register of interpreters and translators which is accessible to all within the justice sector….’
Based on these contract requirements I submit that there is an overwhelming business reason why you should be in possession of the information requested. That reason is to have effective contract monitoring and performance management. If you do not have the information, how else do you determine whether the contractor is fulfilling its contractual requirements to create a register of interpreters and translators? If you do not keep track of the numbers on that register, how are you able to measure the contractors’ obligation to increase the numbers of qualified and vetted interpreters/translators? Your statement that you do not have the information requested and further, that you do not even perceive a business case for having the information indicates a somewhat lackadaisical approach to quality and contract management.