Courts across England and Wales have started using a new interpreter service which is expected to save tax-payers more than £18m a year.
The change means that all courts and justice agencies are now being provided with skilled interpreters and translators through a single agency, Applied Language Solutions.
The new system came into effect this week and means that interpreting assignments across several agencies, including the police and Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunals Service, can be allocated to interpreters more effectively. A single interpreter can now complete consecutive assignments for different agencies in the same general location where previously two, or more, interpreters would have been booked.
National roll-out for the Ministry of Justice is now being completed following successful implementation of the new service in courts in the North West last month.
Minister for Policing and Criminal Justice Nick Herbert said:
‘The Government is determined to ensure that taxpayers get value for money across the whole of the justice system. This new contract will save at least £18 million a year on the cost of interpretation and translation, a reduction of almost a third, but will ensure that high quality interpreters and translators are still available to those in need.
‘This is just one of a number of common sense changes we are implementing across the justice system to make it more efficient and effective, including digitisation of the courts, greater transparency and expanding the use of virtual courts.’
The new arrangement will:
Provide a ‘one-stop shop’ for all language services including face-to-face foreign language translation and telephone interpretation as well language services for the deaf and deafblind, and written translation.
Simplify the booking and allocation of interpreters and translators, to save staff time and ensure a quicker service for the public.
Centralise the booking of interpreters so that they can be used more efficiently on behalf of the public.
Increase the numbers of interpreters and translators available for use.
The changes have been introduced for criminal, civil and family courts, tribunals and prisons. Other justice organisations, including police forces, probation trusts and the Crown Prosecution Service can also sign contracts under the framework agreement.
Notes to editors
People can learn about how the justice system works, see how judges reach their sentencing decisions and find out about how courts in their area are performing at the Open Justice website: open.justice.gov.uk/
For more information contact the Ministry of Justice news desk on 0203 334 3536