Earlier editions: Use of language services in courts and tribunals
The report is released by the Ministry of Justice and produced in accordance with arrangements approved by the UK Statistics Authority.
The data presented in this bulletin are the face to face language services provided to HM Courts & Tribunals Services and National Offender Management Service (NOMS), covering requests for services made and completed between the start of the national language services framework on 30 January 2012 and 31 January 2013.
Requests made before 30 January 2012 were part of the pilot phase, and are not reported here. Requests are made in advance and may be subject to adjournment, delays or cancellation.
During the period covered by this bulletin (30 January 2012 to 31 January 2013), there were 131,153 requests for language services covering 259 different languages. Of these requests, 55 per cent were for criminal cases (including cases in the Crown and magistrates’ courts and requests made by prisons), 39 per cent were for tribunals cases (including immigration and asylum cases), and six per cent were for civil and family cases.
Of the total requests, 14,823 (11 per cent) were cancelled by the requesting customer (HMCTS or NOMS). Of the remaining 116,330 requests, 104,932 were fulfilled or the requesting customer failed to attend – a success rate of 90 per cent over the whole period.
Number of requests for language services
Presenting a single success rate does not provide the whole picture on the changes in the operation of the contract over the first 12 months.
In the first month of the contract (January 30 to February 29, 2012), the contractor was able to fulfil the request or the requesting customer failed to attend for 67 per cent of all requests. Over the second month of the contract this increased to 81 per cent and increasing by a further nine percentage points in the third month. For the remainder of 2012 the success rate was relatively flat at between 92 and 95 per cent.
However, by the end of January 2013 the success rate had fallen to just over 86 per cent; this fall coincided with the contractor reducing the mileage rate paid to interpreters.
Figure 1 – Success rate for completed language service requests, by month and requester type, February 2012 to January 2013
4 languages (Polish, Romanian, Urdu and Lithuanian) accounted for more than a third of all language requests received.
In criminal cases (requests made by the Crown and magistrates’ courts and prisons), the most frequently requested language was Polish (14,364 requests);
Similarly, Polish was also the most frequently requested language at civil and family courts (1,402 requests);
The most frequently requested language at tribunals was Urdu (5,692 requests).
For the 20 most requested languages overall, the success rates for requests made by criminal courts and prisons over the whole period varied across languages, between 79 and 98 per cent. The range was similar for the other requester types – between 74 and 98 per cent at civil and family courts, between 70 to 96 per cent at tribunals.
The lowest success rate for criminal cases was Lithuanian. At civil and family courts, the lowest success rates were for Slovak, and at tribunals Lithuanian.
During the period covered by this bulletin (30 January 2012 to 31 January 2013), there were 6,417 complaints recorded relating to completed requests made. The majority of the complaints came from tribunals (4,050 complaints, 63 per cent), with the most common reason for complaint being that the interpreter was late getting to the assignment (970 complaints, 24 per cent of complaints from tribunals). At criminal courts and prisons, the most common reason for complaint was that there was no interpreter available (35 per cent of complaints by these requesters).
The complaint rate (the number of complaints divided by the number of completed requests) has increased between August 2012 and January 2013
The bulletin was produced and handled by the ministry’s analytical professionals and production staff. Pre-release access of up to 24 hours was granted to the following persons:
Lord Chancellor and Secretary of State for Justice, Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice, Minister of State for Policing and Criminal Justice, Permanent Secretary, Chairman of the Sentencing Council, Director General, Corporate Performance Group, Director General, Justice Policy, Chief Statistician, Director, Criminal Law, Sentencing and Youth Policy, Director of Analytical Services, Head of Neighbourhood Justice, Policy Manager, Criminal Policy – Sentencing Policy and Penalties, Head of News, Chief Press Officer – Criminal Justice Desk, 2 Press Officers, Interpreter Contract Project Manager, Interpreter Contract Project Support Officer, Ministry of Justice Procurement; Procurement Manager, 7 Private Secretaries and 3 Assistant Private Secretaries