MoJ ditches new court interpreting system in face of major backlash

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  • More self induced tribulations from the MOJ.... cannot wait until automatic arbitration kicks in on so called small claims.....disaster beckons!! Ken Clarke and his Sir Humphrey's are wreaking havoc....... tried getting sense out of a County Court call centre lately??

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  • This is just a sorry mess, and it needs sorting, quick.
    Applied Language Solutions cannot deliver what it has promised and simply does not have the capacity to cope.
    ALS is so desperate it has been making all sorts of ridiculous offers to try to get interpreters to sign up. Most still refuse.
    It's costing the courts service a fortune, there are no savings, just cases piling up, wasted cost orders flying around, people held in custody longer than they should be. Major disruption.
    You get what you pay for. A bargain basement deal which sends (when they turn up) boil-in-the-bag mostly unqualified and inexperienced people.
    The problem is not with short notice appointments. It is a contract with structural flaws, a company seriously out of its depth and a Government department with its head in the sand.

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  • As an ex-employee of ALS I am not surprised by this news at all. It is a small company and it looks like it has bitten off more than it can chew. I was very surprised that the MOJ would award this contract to a company that only had a total turnover that is a fraction (aproximately 5%) of the value of the contract. How did they expect this to work? They effectively created a new company to provide these services that had no experience of such big contracts. Seems like the procurement dept in the public sector has a lot to answer for.

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  • I am training to become DPSI qualified and have been placed as a Tier 1 interpreter in ALS's register. Jobs of all sorts have been offered to me without me taking any sort of assessments or other exams with or without ALS, and as far as ALS are concerned I am just a person with no proof of my abilities, qualifications or indeed security clearance. I have been offered jobs in Magistrate and Crown Courts, Employment Tribunals - this is just outrageous....there must be consequences.

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  • MoJ "broken record"says: "will save at least £18M, i.e. nearly a third, on annual spend of £60M"
    That should mean that the amount paid as a result should be £42M maximum - right?
    WRONG - MoJ has given 3 interpreting contracts to ALS:
    Contract A:
    http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/Common/View%20Notice.aspx?site=1000&lang=en¬iceid=264052&fs=true
    £300M over 48 months = £75M per year.
    Contract B:

    http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/Common/View%20Notice.aspx?site=1000&lang=en¬iceid=352922&fs=true
    £125M over 60 months = £25M per year.

    Contract C:
    http://www.contractsfinder.businesslink.gov.uk/Common/View%20Notice.aspx?site=1000&lang=en¬iceid=414414&fs=true
    £8M over 57 months = £1.68M per year.

    Total somewhat over £100M , costing the taxpayer an extra £40M per year!
    Face the facts - you are ripping the taxpayer off, destroying an industry with a Royal Charter AND lying about the savings at the same time!

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  • I made the MOJ aware personally of serious problems reported from the North West after ALS was awarded a contract with 4 police forces in August 2010. I wrote to the MOJ and their procurement department in September 2010, making them aware of specific examples of the same problems courts are experiencing now. I also sent the MOJ a petition signed by NRPSI registrants clearly stating they would not work for ALS. All this happened in 2010. The MOJ was well aware of these problems at the time it awarded the contract to ALS. We need a public enquiry into why the MOJ chose to ignore such important information.

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  • I personally informed the interpreting project manager of two very serious problems. One interpreter with very basic English who has been placed in tier 3 has been used on a number of ocassions for tier 1 jobs. He also acted as an interpreter during an interview with a rape suspect. Following this intervirew, he felt the pressure and said he would not accept further bookings from ALS.
    I inow another person who has never been assessed by ALS, but has been placed in tier 2 without his knowledge. He was shocked when he found out that he was in tier 2. He got another shock when he was offered tier 1 jobs. ALS doesn't know whether this particualr person is CRB checked. They don't even know if he is entitled to work in this country.
    I personally wrote to MoJ and the lady sent me an e-mail saying she had received my e-mail. Nothing else has been done.
    ALS is a joke. It is a scam and they will do anything to hide their failure.

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  • I fully agree that the procurement department should be investigated to find out how this contract could have been awarded to a company with such an appalling track record. It seems that the civil servants just looked at the value of the contract and nothing else. You simply cannot replace 2300 professional interpreters with unqualified people and expect the contract to work. What next? Outsourcing the provision of surgeons to ALS and expecting to replace them with cleaners on a minimum wage!?! That would cut the health service bill, but at what cost? The rates offered by ALS are so low that even the unqualified non-English speaking persons turning up in our courts cannot afford to work for them. What a mess.

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  • Now, with a little (only little) more time on my hands, while all this farce is going on, I use it to “polish” my interpreting skills even further, by spending more time watching Polish TV, with particular attention to anything, that might contain legal terms. This evening, while engrossed in reading very well thought out comments on this page, I picked up a news item (Polsat TV – Wydarzenia, 23.02.2012) that really made me smile, and I wish to share it with you all here.
    The story takes place in Poland, over the last week-end, and the Bank wished not to declare its identity.
    “An unscrupulous criminal has used a stolen ID to open a business bank account. Part of the service was the use of the wall deposit box, reserved for the trusted and valued customers. After a couple of low value, genuine transactions on the account, the individual (CCTV image shown) deposited, in an unusual (not transparent) black bag, paper shredding. This, he did last Friday afternoon, hence The Police believe that he must have had insider information, that the deposits will not be checked until Monday, declaring that he has deposited 1.5 million EUR. As soon as the declared money appeared on his account that afternoon, he promptly purchased gold bars to the aforementioned value, and collected immediately. An arrest warrant has been issued.”
    Now, I thought, the charge? The answer came in a lightning – First Degree Blatancy!
    I thought, that in the 21st century, things like this could not happen! How wrong!

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  • As a professional and registered interpreter in three foreign languages, I have been really upset about the whole situation regarding ALS. Firstly, the MoJ had a complete disregard for the integrity of my profession where is in my opinion an interpreter (if required in a trial/police interview) is as important as a barrister / prosecutor. However, MoJ just wanted to save the money and they thought the interpreters do not deserve a skilled Job's pay. An interpreter still earns less than many skilled self-employed people. Also, the hourly pay for interpreters is still the same since 2007. So instead of making it better, they tried to make it worse. Secondly, ALS thought that they can use their bullying tactics and force us into accepting their conditions. Well I am afraid it does not work like that in today's world. I will not work for ALS at any cost and will only resume work with the same passion and honor for the MoJ, police forces and my profession as before once the MoJ scraps the whole idea of outsourcing the interpreter service to ALS, which in my view would be a very sensible thing after the harsh experience of having to deal with non-qualified and non-security cleared interpreters (if one bothered to turn up) delays, waste of public funds and waste of important time for the relevant people. I think it would be wise to reinstate the National Agreement for interpreters pay, make the National Register of Public Service Interpreters as the regulatory body and bring things back to normal.

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