PI4J email re CCS Language Services Framework Agreement

Email sent on behalf of Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) to Crown Commercial Service (CCS) 25 March 2015

Re CCS Language Services Framework Agreement

We are given to understand that the CCS will be moving forward with the tendering of the Framework Agreement (FWA) before the 30th March, without further consultation with or input from interpreters and their representative bodies.

PI4J wishes to make it clear that it 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 attached a copy of the PI4J Manifesto which further details what we stand for.

For and on behalf of the Professional Interpreters for Justice

Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) Member Organisations:

Association of Police and Court Interpreters (APCI) – chairman@apciinterpreters.org.uk
Cymdeithas Cyfieithwyr Cymru; (CCC) – geraint@cyfieithwyrcymru.org.uk
Institute of Translation and Interpreting (ITI) – chiefexec@iti.org.uk
National Register of Public Service Interpreters (NRPSI) – chairman@nrpsi.org.uk
National Union of Professional Interpreters and Translators, part of Unite the Union (NUPIT)
– nupit@unitetheunion.org
National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters part of Unite the Union (NUBSLI)
– branchsecretary@nubsli.com
Society of Official Metropolitan Interpreters UK Ltd (SOMI) – board@somiukltd.com
The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) – keith.moffitt@ciol.org.uk

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