Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) Manifesto and Statement

SOMI UK is a member of the Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J).

Please see below a recent statement made on behalf of the organisations which are part of it, as well as a link to PI4J’s recently published manifesto:

Professional interpreters cannot support any arrangements or FWA which does not fully take into consideration all our submissions in respect of minimum professional qualifications for Public Service Interpreters (PSI) and BSL/English Interpreters, Deaf interpreters and Sign Language translators, mandatory NRPSI/NRCPD/SASLI registration, and independent regulation and quality and performance auditing.

Without these safeguards, access to justice will be denied and human rights and race relations will be jeopardised.

Robust standards need to be set and vigorously enforced in order to protect the public and those we serve, which include many vulnerable people, victims and witnesses in the community and justice sector. They must be afforded equal access to the highest levels of linguistic support.

In addition, we reiterate that in order to attract and retain qualified and experienced professional interpreters and language professionals, equitable and sustainable terms and conditions need to be put in place.

Our members have demonstrated in the last three years – since the Ministry of Justice’s outsourcing of the courts’ language services – that they can and will refuse to work for low rates set by so-called ‘market forces’, thereby significantly reducing the pool of qualified interpreters and translators available to work in the public services.

Any arrangements and/or framework agreement that may significantly impact on the delivery of communication and language services in the public sector and especially in the justice sector, must be designed with the utmost care and with full and adequate consultation with interpreters and language professionals and their representative bodies.

However, consultation without the implementation of our input is meaningless.

We refer you to the guidance set out in the National Agreement (NA) for the Use of Interpreters in the Criminal Justice System and its high standards of professional qualifications and registrations, which resulted from years of policy development, consultation and cooperation between members of the justice sector, their language services, interpreters, interpreters’ representative bodies and academic institutions.

Full support of professional interpreters is the only way forward to ensure the quality and success of any future arrangements for the provision of language services in the public service sectors.

FYI, please see below a link to the PI4J Manifesto which further details what we stand for.

Professional Interpreters for Justice manifesto MARCH 25, 2015

Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) is an umbrella group representing over 2,000 interpreters from the National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) and 300 British Sign Language interpreters.

Our aim is to work with government to ensure the quality of interpreting available to the Justice System.

Reliable communication provided by qualified professional interpreters and translators is an essential resource which ensures that justice and human rights are upheld for non-English Speakers and deaf people.

This is put at risk if standards are dropped and quality is sacrificed for profit.

Current government policy is to reduce costs by outsourcing services.

PI4J: What are we asking for?

1. The use of qualified interpreters

2. Full consultation with the interpreting profession

3. Sustainable terms and conditions to be offered to interpreters

4. Independent auditing of quality and performance

5. Independent regulators: Regulation and the maintenance of registers should not be in the hands of private providers

6. Minimum levels of interpreter qualification

7. Statutory protection of title

PI4J: What are we asking for?

1. The use of qualified interpreters: Only qualified and experienced Public Service Interpreters to be
used within the current MoJ Languages Services Framework Agreement and in any future arrangements.

2. Full consultation with the interpreting profession: Future arrangements cannot succeed without the
support of professional interpreters.

3. Sustainable terms and conditions to be offered to interpreters: to ensure the success of any future
arrangements and quality of service.

4. Independent auditing of quality and performance: Credible scrutiny of contract management and
adherence to its provisions is essential, and should be part of the role of an independent Quality
Assurance and Quality Management body.

5. Independent regulators: Regulation and the maintenance of registers should not be in the hands of
private providers. In line with government guidance, since 1 April 2011 the NRPSI has been a fully
independent regulator of the profession, paid for by the interpreters and run solely in the public
interest. PI4J is of the view that the NRCPD should also be independent.

6. Minimum levels of interpreter qualification: Interpreter training as well as language fluency with a
minimum level of entry-level qualification must be required with skills maintained and developed
through a programme of Continuing Professional Development (CPD). Provision should be put in place
to encourage the supply of Rare Language interpreters.

7. Statutory protection of title: A working group must be set up to examine the feasibility of the
introduction of statutory protection for the title of Public Service Interpreter.

Click here for link to full PI4J manifesto

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