Written Ministerial Statement on Interpretation and Translation Services to the Justice Sector

From Interpretation Project � Provision of interpretation and
translation services to the justice sector

You may be interested to know that a Written Ministerial Statement on Interpretation and Translation Services to the Justice Sector was issued in the House of Commons on Wednesday 15 September 2010. Please use the following link to see the text of the statement:


Many thanks

Louisa Carrad
Interpreters Project Manager
Justice Policy Group
Ministry of Justice
Written Ministerial Statements for 15 September 2010


Interpretation and Translation Services (Justice Sector)
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Justice (Mr Crispin Blunt): The
Government are proposing to make changes to the provision of interpretation and
translation services across the justice sector. We need to reduce waste and cut
costs but we shall do so in a way that safeguards quality.

Articles 5 and 6 of the European convention on human rights and fundamental
freedoms (ECHR) give the right to interpretation for those who are arrested and
who face criminal court proceedings. In addition, we expect the European Union
to adopt a directive in the autumn intended to ensure that the rights enshrined
in the ECHR are implemented consistently across all member states.

Currently, the non-binding National Agreement on Arrangements for the Use of
Interpreters, Translators and Language Service Professionals in Investigations
and Proceedings within the Criminal Justice System sets out how criminal justice
organisations are expected to source interpreters and translators in England and
Wales. The National Agreement gives the National Register of Public Service
Interpreters (NRPSI) as the first source for foreign language interpreters and
translators and the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf
People Directory (now called the National Register of Communication
Professionals working with Deaf and Deafblind People (NRCPD)) for British Sign
Language and other language services for deaf and deafblind people. The Police
and Criminal Evidence Act 1984 codes of practice C and H also require that
whenever possible the police should use interpreters from these registers when
interviewing suspects.

Members of staff in justice organisations identify interpreters using the
registers and then contact them directly. Once the assignment is complete,
invoices are processed individually. This is an inefficient, labour-intensive

The Ministry of Justice is engaging with the market to explore how
interpretation and translation can be delivered more efficiently. The exercise
is a “competitive dialogue”, which allows us to explore with potential providers
the best way for them to meet our requirements. Although we are not able to be
certain what the result of this exercise will be, we are anticipating a
“framework agreement” with a number of preferred suppliers. This will set out a
template or “call-off” contract. Justice organisations will then easily be able
to use the “call-off” contract to meet their specific requirements. The quality
of interpretation will be ensured through the terms of the contracts.

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