What lies beneath the published statistics
The Ministry of Justice planned to publish the next set of court interpreting statistics on 13th December 2012, however, a decision was taken to bring forward the publication of the statistics to 18th October to provide more detail for the Public Accounts Committee and Justice Committee.
In the published stats for the first 7 months of the contract the key figures are:
- In total c. 72,000 requests were passed to ALS/Capita by HMCTS.
- Of those c. 5,500 were not filled by ALS (so they admitted that they couldn’t provide anybody)
- c. 8,200 they used the "request cancelled by customer" trick.
And in c. 1,470 cases ALS "linguists" did not turn up despite being requested, and the request not being cancelled. Such instances would have caused disruption and extra costs of adjournment, wasted time, extra time in custody etc, where in addition to demanding service credits, MoJ should calculate these extra costs to be offset against the legendary "savings" that the contract is supposed to bring. Yet, the MoJ acknowledged it has no mechanism of collecting any service credits for such adjourned cases.
Going back to the overall statistics, the MoJ claims in those first 7 months the overall success rate is 89%, however, I would put it at more like an 80% success rate.
Also if we look at the evidence submitted by the MoJ to PAC, they paid ALS c. £6 million in the same period. Presumably this 6 million was paid for those 56,700 bookings that were actually completed.
That works out on average at about £100 per booking paid by HMCTS to ALS.
The MoJ also gave evidence that in the same period they paid £4 million for interpreting services outside of the contract! That is for direct bookings of RPSIs and through other agencies....
If we presume that on average under the old NA rates, a direct booking or agency booking is roughly 50% more expensive than the one through FWA (remember they were saying last year that they wanted each booking to be about 30% cheaper), then each booking outside of the contract would have set HMCTS back about £150 (which sounds about right, because that is what we used to earn), so that means:
Divide £4 million by £150 you get about 26-27,000 bookings that went outside of the contract.
I reckon that in those 7 months of the contract there were c. 100,000 requests for interpreters from HMCTS.
Of those c. 27,000 went outside of contract (short terms bookings /contingency measures, or court staff simply not bothering to ring ALS).
Of the c. 72,000 that did go through the contract ALS managed to get somebody/anybody to court on 56,700 occasions.
Which to me sounds like a 56% success rate, because the grand idea behind the FWA was to consolidate ALL OF THE PROVISION under the contract!
On top of that, no one even bothers to measure another important performance indicator... Out of those 56,700 cases when ALS actually managed to get somebody/anybody to court how many were actually of the requested/required Tier?
In an email correspondence the MoJ said earlier this month that the next publication date for the statistics was yet to be decided. I wonder why.