Improving the quality of videoconference-based

remote interpreting in legal proceedings


Submitting Institution

University of Surrey

Unit of Assessment

English Language and Literature

Summary Impact Type


Research Subject Area(s)

Studies In Human Society: Criminology
Law and Legal Studies: Law

Download original


View similar case studies

Summary of the impact

Police and courts in the UK require interpreters in over 100 languages paired with English every day. Legal interpreters are an essential part of the justice system, and their efficient integration into legal proceedings is crucial to ensuring fairness and efficiency of justice. Current problems with the outsourcing of court interpreting services by the Ministry of Justice and the recent cuts to legal aid have increased the need for cost-efficient and viable solutions for legal interpreting.

Surrey's research investigated the quality and viability of `remote interpreting' in legal proceedings, delivered via videoconference, as an alternative to traditional onsite delivery. The findings were used to develop good practice guidelines, consultancy and training. The training was customised for the Metropolitan Police and delivered to over ca. 700 legal interpreters across Europe between 2009 and 2013. The guidelines were adopted as European-wide by the European Council Working Party on e-Justice in 2012.

Underpinning research

Videoconferencing was widely used in criminal proceedings by 2008 and around that time police forces and judicial services in the UK and elsewhere increasingly considered the use of interpreters in such video links. In 2008, the Metropolitan Police Service began to consider the use of `remote interpreting' whereby interpreters work from a central videoconferencing hub rather than travelling to individual police stations in London to save on interpreter travel costs, which constituted approximately one third of police forces' interpreting costs. Furthermore at European level, the European Commission's effort to strengthen the rights of persons who are accused of a crime led to the adoption of Directive 2010/64/EU on the right to interpretation and translation in criminal proceedings, which explicitly refers to the possibility of using videoconference links for gaining access to a qualified legal interpreter. The Directive had to be implemented in the Member States by October 2013.

Until 2008, very little was known about the viability and quality of videoconference-based interpreting. There was a high risk of potential miscarriages of justice through the combined effects of technical mediation (videoconferencing) and linguistic mediation (interpreting). Relevant training for legal practitioners and interpreters regarding videoconference-based interpreting was non-existent.

Addressing these issues, Surrey conducted the first ever surveys among legal interpreters and judicial institutions in Europe to elicit interpreter experience with videoconference-based interpreting and institutional plans to use it (1, 2). This enabled us to identify the most pressing problems and the most likely future occurrences of videoconference-based interpreting. We then conducted a comparative study to compare the interpreting quality (e.g. accuracy) achieved with traditional methods of interpreting and in video links for the situations identified (e.g. police interviews in the UK). 

The quantitative analysis of the data shows a higher number of interpreting problems and a faster decline of interpreting performance over time in video links, suggesting greater difficulties for interpreters and a faster onset of fatigue (3, 6).

Based on these findings, Surrey developed guidelines of good practice for video interpreting in criminal proceedings (5), and designed and piloted training modules for interpreters and legal practitioners (4).

The major conclusion underlying the guidelines is that a sufficient quality of interpreting performance is a conditio sine qua non. The viability of video interpreting must therefore override all considerations of cost savings. At the same time, the advantages of videoconferencing, when appropriately used, must not be cursorily dismissed, especially at a time when the European effort to strengthen the rights of European citizens to translation and interpreting coincides - and sometimes competes — with financial constraints imposed on judicial institutions.

References to the research

1. Braun S & J Taylor (2012a) Videoconference and remote interpreting in legal proceedings. Guildford: University of Surrey. Cambridge/Antwerp: Intersentia.

2. Braun S & J Taylor (2012b) Video-mediated interpreting: an overview of current practice and research. In Braun S & J Taylor (Eds), 27-57.

3. Braun S & J Taylor (2012c) Video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings: two European surveys. In Braun, S & J Taylor (Eds), 59-84.

4. Braun S, Taylor J, Miler-Cassino J, Rybińska Z, Balogh K, Hertog E, vanden Bosch Y, Rombouts D (2012) Training in video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. In S Braun & J Taylor (Eds), 205-254.

5. Braun S (2012) Recommendations for the use of video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. In Braun, S & J Taylor (Eds), 265-87.

6. Braun S (2013): Keep your distance? Remote interpreting in legal proceedings: A critical assessment of a growing practice. Interpreting 15:2, 199-227.



Details of the impact

Educational and economic impact: training and consultancy for the Metropolitan Police

The Metropolitan Police Sercive (MPS) has a comprehensive system of accrediting and using legal interpreters, ensuring interpreting quality, impartiality and cost-effectivenes of interpreting services. The introduction of remote interpreting, whereby interpreters work from central videoconference hubs, was a crucial project in the MPS Language Programme, set up in 2008 to modernise the linguistic and cultural services in the MPS. This programme had a high strategic significance within the MPS, especially with regards to the Olympic Games in London in 2012.

The MPS was aware of our research and from 2008, we were regularly consulted by the MPS about practical and logistical aspects of the implementation of remote interpreting. In 2010, the MPS asked us to design a training progamme for MPS-certified interpreters in the use of videoconference-based interpreting. The core of the training were the recommendations and guidelines of best practice developed in the AVIDICUS 1 project. MPS decided to make the training mandatory for the interpreters to maintain interpreting quality standards, i.e. interpreters must have undergone the training in order to be commissioned for work in a video link. Between September 2010 and September 2011, we delivered 23 half-day training sessions for a total of 341 police-certified interpreters. This consistutes 89% of interpreters currently on the list of interpreters certified by the Metropolitan Police Service. Feedback from workshop participants indicates that the interpreters considered the sessions to provide very useful preparation for real-life remote interpreting tasks (See analysis of feedback in Braun et al. 2012).

In November 2011, the MPS stated that "in implementing this project, MPS have greatly benefitted from co-operation with the Centre for Translation Studies at the University of Surrey The consultancy that Dr Braun has provided on the basis of a unique evidential base has helped to shape the remote interpreting project in significant and concrete ways, including in particular how to mitigate the challenges of video-mediated interpreting. Her research has therefore influenced the linguistic and cultural details of the implementation of the project" [b].

Similar training sessions were run in the UK, Belgium, Croatia, France and Spain between 2009 and 2013, reaching approximately 350 legal interpreters across Europe. Whilst the main impact of this work is educational, it also has a positive economic impact, as the training and the consultancy we provided regarding the implementation of video interpreting help institutions such as MPS to make informed cost savings without compromising the quality of interpreting.

Political impact: European Guidelines

In June 2007, the EU Council of Justice and Home Affairs considered that improving the use of videoconferencing in cross-border legal proceedings should be a priority to speed up proceedings and save costs. The European e-Justice Action Plan 2009-2013 developed by the Council identifies videoconferencing as being of particular importance for simplifying and encouraging communication between judicial authorities. In 2011, discussions in the EU Council Working Party on e-Justice furthermore highlighted the importance of developing solutions for video interpreting. In October 2011, Braun was invited to provide a working paper [c] and present the outcomes of the AVIDICUS project including the recommendations and guidelines at one of the Working Party's meetings in Brussels.

In subsequent discussions, the AVIDICUS guidelines were deemed by the Working Party to "facilitate the use of videoconferencing and remote interpreting in the judicial systems of the Member States" [d]. In February 2012, the Danish EU Presidency organised a seminar in Copenhagen specifically dedicated to videoconferencing to which Braun was invited to present the recommendations to approx. 100 delegates from the 27 EU Member States.

As a follow-up on these developments, it was suggested in the Working Party that the Guide on videoconferencing in cross-border proceedings (published by the EU Council and available on the European e-Justice Portal, be updated to incorporate the AVIDICUS recommendations and guidelines on video interpreting. Braun was invited to comment on several drafts. The final version was adopted by the Working Party on 16 April 2012 [d, e].

Improving Public Services: Key events

From the outset, there has been a demonstrable high level of interest among public service institutions in this research. The international symposia on Videoconference and Remote Interpreting in Legal Proceedings and Multilingual Videoconferencing in Legal Proceedings organised by us to present the outcomes of AVIDICUS 1 and 2 in 2011 and 2013 respectively, attracted 200 participants from over 20 countries, including representatives from judicial and law enforcement institutions, professional interpreting associations, interpreting agencies and EU institutions (EU DG Justice, DG Interpreting, European Parliament, European Court of Justice).

Braun also gave invited presentations to key stakeholders at European level, e.g. at the Royal Society of Arts Seminar A Virtual Day in Court in 2011 [6], the meeting of the European Council Working Party on e-Law in October 2011, the European e-Justice Seminar on Videoconferencing in court proceedings organised by the Danish EU Presidency in 2012, and at national level, to the Association of Court and Police Interpreters in 2008, the Magistrates Association in 2009 and the Chartered Institute of Linguists in 2010. The recurring topic of the events and presentations was how the challenges of video-mediated interpreting can be mitigated e.g. by creating appropriate working conditions for interpreters (including system design, training and guidelines) and through cooperation between all stakeholders in order to improve the quality of interpreting as a prerequisite for improving the quality of justice in multilingual legal proceedings.

Another series of key events were joint workshops for legal interpreters and legal practitioners, which were organised in 2012 and 2013 where interpreters and legal practitioners were invited to participate in role plays in order to discover potential problems of video-mediated and interpreter- mediated communication and to apply the guidelines.

Provision of expert services: Similar evaluation and consultancy work

The research also led to a contract with London Probation Trust (2012) to evaluate video- conferencing and interpreting in European cross-border resettlement based on the European Framework Decisions 909 and 947 (transfer of custodial and non-custodial sentences), where similar interpreting needs arise [g]; and invitations to contribute to the European projects Building Mutual Trust 2 (2011-13) and QUALITAS (2013-14), which produce educational video clips for legal professionals (about working with an interpreter) and certification methods for legal interpreting in Europe — in each case with reference to video interpreting. In 2013, Braun was recommended by the Society for Public Service Interpreting to the Ministry of Justice as an independent consultant for assessing legal interpreter provision in England [h].

Sources to corroborate the impact

a) AVIDICUS 1 External Evaluation Report (21st June 2011)

b) Letter by the Head of Language Policy & Co-ordination, Metropolitan Police Service, Language & Cultural Services (29th November 2011) Provided statement.

c) Recommendations for the use of video-mediated interpreting in criminal proceedings. Presentation by the Dutch delegation to the EU Council Working Party on e-Law (e-Justice), Brussels, 4th November 2011 (14168/11 EJUSTICE 70)

d) Videoconferencing and remote interpreting in judicial proceedings. Presentation by the EU Presidency to the EU Council Working Party on e-Law (e-Justice). Brussels, 21st March 2012.

e) Guide on Videoconferencing in Cross-Border Proceedings. EU Council/European Commission,13 March 2012. - Scn2.4.

f) Royal Society of Arts (2011) A Virtual Day in Court. Design thinking and virtual courts

g) European Organisation of Probation (CEP) (2011). DUTT: researching videoconferencing in criminal justice procedures (Interview with S Braun). CEP Newsletter August 2011.

h) Society of Public Service Interpreting.

i) Policy officer, Innovation Program Judicial System Department (Dutch Ministry of Security and Justice) and Member of the Dutch delegation of the European Council Working Party on e-Law. Contact details provided.

j) Equalities & Community Engagement Officer (London Probation Trust) & Foreign National Offenders lead (National Offender Management Service — NOMS centre) Contact details provided.

k) Director of Interpreting Services, European Court of Justice. Contact details provided.

Why interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts interpreting contract


3 hrs · 

A new contract between 2 Bristol hospital trusts and Sign Solutions has led to more than 40 interpreters from that region refusing to work under the terms being imposed on them by the agency. Read why they are taking this stand, and the effect this is likely to have on all interpreters, in our latest Nub article. You can also read NUBSLI's statement of support there too.‪#‎swboycott…/why-we-are-refusing-to-work-for-sign-so…

Why interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts...

interpreters are refusing to work for the new Sign Solutions Bristol Hospital Trusts interpreting contract


Why we are refusing to work for the Bristol Hospital Trusts' interpreting contract with Sign Solutions

24 February 2016

"I’m OK with this slightly lower level of pay." "It’s not much less than before." "I don’t need to earn as much as the more experienced interpreters." "I have enough work that it all adds up to a sufficient income." "If other interpreters don’t want the work, then there’s more for me."

This is the death knell of interpreting as we know it.

So many times over recent years we have told each other that we must resist the trend of agencies to run down our terms and conditions because otherwise we’ll see a downward spiral of worse and worse terms inflicted on us across the board.

In Bristol we’ve just seen a perfect example of this downward trend: We have been dictated risible terms on a brand new contract set to cover all 12 hospitals in Bristol. Not by a flaky fly-by-night agency. Or a large corporate body with a language interpreting and translation arm. But by a well respected, long standing national agency founded by, owned by and led by BSL Interpreters.

Initially when we heard that Sign Solutions had won the contract to provide BSL interpreters across both healthcare trusts in Bristol, we were optimistic. Until they told us the terms and conditions that they had negotiated for their business.

When challenged about these, specifically the 24 hour cancellation condition, we were told "recent public sector frameworks / contracts, other than the CCS, all have 24 hour cancellation charges". In other words — other contract holders have managed to convince interpreters to accept these dire terms, so we are going to use the same terms on you.

But in Bristol we are challenging the assumption that companies can make their profits by cutting our income. In the words of the NHS: No decision about me without me!

Interpreters respond

In December, interpreters from the region gathered together to talk about how we felt about this contract and what we wanted to do. This wasn’t a NUBSLI meeting, although many there were members. This wasn’t an ASLI meeting and this wasn’t a VLP meeting, although there were many there who were members of one or both. This was a meeting of professional colleagues looking to find a reasonable collective view about a pay scale and working conditions that had been imposed upon us without our input or opinion. The consensus from the meeting was that the terms of the contract were not acceptable.

Our response was a collective letter to Sign Solutions, and individual emails to the Quality Director of one of the affected Healthcare Trusts, explaining why we couldn’t agree to work under the terms of the contract, and detailing what adjustments we would like to see put in place. Over 40 local interpreters have come forward and publicly declared their intention not to work under the terms of the contract.

Despite Sign Solutions assuring us that their hands are tied by the conditions imposed by the contract client; that they are constrained by the ‘worst financial times experienced by the NHS’, they have already, once or twice, acceded to individual terms when they’ve needed to get an interpreter into a booking, with phrases such as ‘on this occasion’ and ‘for the sake of the client’.

The 40 plus interpreters in this region will be standing their ground on this one. We know that by acting collectively we can make it clear that the contract can not be satisfactorily filled without our good will. And you don’t get our good will by degrading our professional worth.

Sadly this contract has already claimed its first victim: a local deaf association has announced its closure. The income generated by its small interpreter bookings agency was what kept it going and it can no longer guarantee enough income to stay afloat without the hospital bookings.

Without collectively standing together and forcing the agencies and contract holders to re-think their contracts, it will be sole traders like you and me who realise we can no longer guarantee enough income from the bookings on offer to pay the mortgage or the child care. And the businesses closing down will be ours. The damage being done to the profession by these dishonourable terms and conditions could be fatal.

You can read NUBSLI's statement in support of this action.


- See more at:




The Guardian


Home Office drops plans to cut interpreter wages after boycott threat 

Home Office drops plans to cut interpreter wages after boycott threat

The one-day mass action threatened by the pool of more than 2,000 interpreters could have brought the processing of immigration claims to a standstill

 Home secretary, Theresa May. Interpreters wrote to the Home Office protesting planned changes to their rates of pay. Photograph: PA

Diane Taylor

Friday 15 January 2016 20.57 GMTLast modified on Friday 15 January 201620.59 GM

The Home Office has dropped plans to cut the wages of its pool of more than 2,000 interpreters following threats of a mass boycott which could have brought the system for processing immigration claims across the country to a halt.

One interpreter said: “The Home Office has performed a big U-turn here. We are already well underpaid having to travel for up to six hours a day to bookings without any pay. They have kept our rates of pay at the same level since 2002 but it was too much when they told us at the end of last year that they were actually going to cut our pay rates from 1 January. We are all very relieved that these pay cuts have been abandoned.”

The Home Office has more than 2,000 highly trained interpreters on its books, all of whom have had to undergo counter-terrorism security clearance. It would be difficult for the Home Office to replace the current pool of interpreters at short notice.

The Home Office had initially announced that the pay cut would be postponed from 1 January 2016 until at least 1 February. However, on Friday the postponement was scrapped and the Home Office said it is launching a fundamental review of interpreter services including rates of pay.Following an article in the Guardian about the planned pay cuts, officials from the Home Office’s Central Interpreters Unit agreed to meet some of the interpreters to discuss their concerns about the planned pay cuts.

In a note to interpreters, the Home Office said: “This notification is to advise you that following further internal discussions, the decision has been taken to adjourn the planned rate change at this time with a view to commissioning a fundamental review of interpreter services, including the interpreter rates of pay within the scope of the review.

Consequently, current Home Office interpreter rates of pay remain in effect until further notice.”

Interpreters currently receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at the weekend. But the first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to appointments. The Home Office had proposed that the first-hour rate will be cut from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Interpreters are expected to travel up to three hours each way without extra payments from the Home Office. They attend meetings between asylum seekers and others interacting with immigration officials, and translate interview questions and answers face to face. The pay cuts were due to apply to various areas of the Home Office’s work, including UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office.

The interpreters planned to boycott all interpreting assignments offered on 1 January 2016 and to roll out a series of one-day boycotts after that.

Hundreds signed a petition protesting about the planned wage reductions and a Twitter and Facebook campaign was launched.

A spokesman for Professional Interpreters for Justice, which protested strongly to the Home Office about the planned cuts, welcomed the news.

“We are delighted,” he said. “There is a whole range of government interpreting where rates of pay are under threat. Today’s decision by the Home Office is the first outbreak of common sense we’ve seen.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we use offer the best value for money for the taxpayer.

“As part of these considerations, we have decided to commission a fundamental review of interpreter services. Interpreter rates of pay will be considered within the scope of the review.

“The planned rate change will be adjourned pending this review and current rates of pay remain in effect.”

interpreter ‏@nrpsinterpreter  21 Dec 2015

Professional Interpreters for Justice writes to Home Office regarding proposed cuts to Interpreter Rates of Pay 



Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes



Home Office puts plans to cut interpreters' pay on hold


Proposals to reduce pay of more than 2,000 workers deferred amid fears that boycott could throw immigration system into chaos

Monday 28 December 2015 12.01 

The Home Office has deferred plans to cut the pay of more than 2,000 interpreters from 1 January following threats that they would boycott government work, potentially throwing the immigration system into chaos.

When they were first informed of the proposed pay cut last month, the interpreters said they would refuse to accept assignments. Such a move could cause the system for processing asylum claims across the country to grind to a halt. The interpreters work across the Home Office including for UK Visas & Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office. They launched a fair payment campaign in protest against the planned pay cuts.

The Home Office has confirmed that any plans to cut pay will be deferred at least until February while negotiations with the interpreters take place. Prior to the Guardian reporting on the planned pay cut last week, it had said that there was no requirement to consult with interpreters who are contracted to work for them on a freelance basis.

Interpreters receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at weekends. The first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to and from appointments.

Up to three hours’ travel each way for an appointment attracts no extra payment from the Home Office. Under the proposals, the new first-hour rate for weekdays would be cut from £48 to £32, while the rate at weekends would come down from £72 to £46. The interpreters say they have not had a pay rise since at least 2002 so in real terms have had a pay cut every year. But this is the first time the Home Office has actually proposed lowering their wages.

Home Office interpreters are highly trained and have to go through counter-terrorism security clearance so it would not be easy for the Home Office to find replacements at short notice. The interpreters planned to boycott all interpreting assignments offered on 1 January 2016 and to roll out a series of one-day boycotts after that. These plans are on hold while discussions continue.

A meeting lasting more than two hours took place between interpreters and the Home Office on 21 December. At the meeting, officials warned the interpreters against speaking to the media. Following the meeting, the Facebook page for theFair Payment Campaign has been removed.

A further meeting between the Home Office and interpreters is planned for mid-January. Interpreters said the talks gave them an opportunity to demonstrate ”our collective strength and unity”.

But one interpreter who did not want to be named expressed concern that the Home Office was just waiting for the situation to quieten down and would then go ahead with the planned cuts.

In a statement issued by interpreters when they launched the fair payment campaign, they said: 

“Many interpreters and their supporters have already written to the Home Office central interpreters’ unit expressing their dismay and opposition to these cuts in rates, which were already much eroded through inflation, and mean that it will no longer be feasible for them to continue working in this field. 

This will result in a diminishing pool of qualified, experienced and vetted interpreters for the Home Office, detrimental both to them but especially so to the great number of vulnerable people who depend on reliable interpreting services to put their cases across since they are unable to do so themselves. Their lives may be at stake. The right to a fair hearing is enshrined in international human rights law.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we employ offer the best value for money for the taxpayer.“

“Following our meeting with the interpreters on 21 December, we intend to defer implementation of this change at least until 1 February 2016 to allow us time to give proper considerations to the views and opinions expressed.”



Written by Malcolm Fowler

Category: The Letters Page

 Published: 27 December 2015



Written by Dr. Ellen Ruth Moerman, NGTV, AIIC, MCIoL

Category: The Letters Page

 Published: 27 December 2015

Labour Left ‏@LabourLeft  Dec 20

"Home Office interpreters threaten boycott over arbitrary pay cut"



Boycott threatened as Home Office ready to cut interpreters’ pay

Theresa May looking particularly unattractive

Yesterday’s Guardian reports that the Home Office wants to cut the pay of the estimated 2,000 interpreters it uses in processing immigration claims.

Interpreters received an email from the Home Office’s central interpreters unit in Liverpool on 20th November notifying them that their pay would be cut from 1st January.

Interpreters currently receive £16 per hour for working weekdays and slightly more at weekends. In addition, a Home Office interpreter’s first hour of work is paid at an enhanced rate to reflect the time and cost of travelling to appointments; this is being reduced from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Home Office interpreters have not had a pay increase since 2002, i.e. they’ve already had 13 years of de facto pay cuts – and the actual pay cut announced for the New Year will be implemented in various areas of the Home Office’s work, including UK Visas and Immigration, Border Force, Immigration Enforcement and HM Passport Office. For this work they have to be highly trained and undergo counter-terrorism security clearance.

As a result of this insulting treatment by Theresa May’s department, interpreters are threatening a mass boycott. The boycott is planned to start on 1st January, followed by a series of walk-outs thereafter.

One unnamed organiser told The Guardian: “There is no strike planned because, as freelancers, we cannot legally do so. We may, however, choose not to accept assignments and that is what the boycott will consist of.”

“At the moment, the Home Office needs interpreters more than we need them. They do not have any other system currently in place to substitute our services other than for telephone interpreting, which they can outsource to thebigword. They know that if we boycott even for a day, that will cause major disruptions to their business.”

In addition, the interpreters have written to the Home Office to express their disgust at this disgraceful treatment and the lack of consultation, the latter being a breach by the Home Office of the interpreters’ contractual terms.

As per usual with this dreadful government, the Home Office spokesperson contacted by The Guardian insisted that the department had done nothing wrong and everything was hunky dory.

From where I’m sitting, it looks like there’s every chance of a repeat of the drop in professional standards and other farcical states of affairs that occurred when the Ministry of Justice placed interpreting for courts and tribunals in the incompetent hands of Capita Translation & Interpreting (posts passim).


language politics


Home Office defers plans to cut interpreters’ pay

Today’s Guardian reports that the Home Office has postponed its plans to cut the pay of more than 2,000 interpreters from 1st January 2016. This comes in the wake of a threatened boycott from Home Office interpreters (posts passim), which could cause chaos in the running of the UK’s immigration system.

According to The Guardian, the Home Office has confirmed that any plans to cut pay will be deferred at least until February while negotiations with the interpreters take place. Considering that Home Office interpreters have not had a pay rise since 2002 (they get a basic £16/hr. on weekdays and slightly more at weekends. Ed.) and the Home Office’s desire to cut what is already fairly meagre pay do not bode well for those negotiations.

A meeting lasting more than two hours took place between interpreters and the Home Office on 21st December. At the meeting, Home Office civil servants warned the interpreters against speaking to the media in a blatant disregard of the interpreters’ rights under Article 10 of the Human Rights Act 1998. A further meeting between the Home Office and interpreters is planned for the middle of January.

The Home Office stated as follows after the 21st December meeting: “Following our meeting with the interpreters on 21st December, we intend to defer implementation of this change at least until 1st February 2016 to allow us time to give proper considerations to the views and opinions expressed.”

Given the government’s arrogant refusal to listen to anyone besides its donors and beneficiaries, it looks like the next linguistic sacrifices on Whitehall’s altar of austerity will be Home Office interpreters, following on from the Ministry of Justice’s interpreters, the overwhelming majority of whom refused to work for the abysmal rates offered by Capita Translation & Interpreting (posts passim) and have been boycotting court and tribunal work for the last couple of years.

language politics



·         PI4J writes to Home Office on reduced interpreter pay rates December 24, 2015

·         Statement by leaders of Fair Payment Campaign for HO interpreters December 22, 2015

·         Boycott threatened as Home Office ready to cut interpreters’ pay December 21, 2015

·         Sign petition to help save RiL December 21, 2015




Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes


Home Office Interpreters threaten boycott over pay cut


Professional Interpreters for Justice Logo




Dear all, 

It has already hit the news! :) 


Thank you to all of you who have already written to the CIU, please continue to do so as they need to know we mean it. 

By Email:


I received a call from CIU this morning for work on 4 January (I rarely get offered work by them). I explained I am unable to take it due to the reduction in pay. He did not seem surprised and I am aware that colleagues have done the same. 

With best wishes, 


Here are the Fair Pay Campaign Facebook page and Twitter links (we have Jeremy Corbyn following us :)  Fair Pay Campaign @campaignfairpay


Home Office interpreters threaten boycott over pay cut

Immigration services could be thrown into chaos if mass action by up to 2,000 interpreters goes ahead in January

Sunday 20 December 2015 17.00 


The system for processing immigration claims across the country is set to grind to a halt in the new year if a threatened mass boycott of Home Office interpreters goes ahead.

The looming action in protest at pay cuts is the first time the estimated 2,000 interpreters have threatened to stop work. The organisers of a fair payment campaign – who are running it anonymously for fear of reprisals by the Home Office – say that so far they have received solid support from several hundred interpreters. A meeting has been scheduled with Home Office bosses at 11am on Monday to discuss their concerns.

The problems began when interpreters received an email on 20 November from the Home Office central interpreters unit in Liverpool informing them that a pay cut will be introduced from 1 January. Interpreters receive £16 an hour on weekdays and slightly more at the weekend. But the first hour’s work is paid at an enhanced rate to recognise the time and cost of travelling to appointments. That first-hour rate is being cut from £48 to £32 on weekdays and from £72 to £46 at weekends.

Interpreters are expected to travel up to three hours each way without extra payments from the Home Office. They attend meetings between asylum seekers and others interacting with immigration officials and translate interview questions and answers face to face.

Home Office interpreters are highly trained and have to go through counter-terrorism security clearance, meaning it will not be easy to substitute other interpreters at short notice if the boycott takes effect. The plan is to start the boycott on 1 January and to follow it with a series of walkouts after that.The interpreters say they have not had a pay rise since at least 2002, so in real terms have already taken a sizeable cut. But this is the first time the Home Office has proposed lowering their wages.

“There is no strike planned because, as freelancers, we cannot legally do so. We may, however, choose not to accept assignments and that is what the boycott will consist of,” said one of the interpreters organising the action and the Facebook page.

“At the moment, the Home Office needs interpreters more than we need them. They do not have any other system currently in place to substitute our services other than for telephone interpreting, which they can outsource to thebigword [an online firm]. They know that if we boycott even for a day, that will cause major disruptions to their business.”

The interpreters have written to the Home Office to express their dismay at the pay cut. “This decision came out of the blue; there had been no consultation nor any forewarning of a reduction in our fees,” the letter says. “The fees paid to us have remained unchanged since at least 2002, when the current rates came into effect, whilst being eroded by 3.5% annually due to inflation.

“In view of this, any further reductions are totally unacceptable. Instead … the Home Office should do the right thing and seriously consider increasing the rates of payment to account for the effects of inflation, just as the Home Office has done with their staff’s salaries for the last 12 years, other than three of them.”

Another interpreter who also did not want to be named, said: “The Home Office cannot function without us. They will not be able to process any immigration claims if we go ahead with our boycott.”

“Sometimes we are looked down on. This pay reduction is a huge insult and the time has come to protest,” she added.She added that the interpreters are very loyal to the Home Office but are often not treated well. In some centres they are not even allowed to use the same toilets as Home Office staff.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “We keep our costs under constant review to ensure the contractors we use offer the best value for money for the taxpayer. As part of this, we have considered the rates at which interpreters are paid and have made some changes, which are effective from 1 January.

“This information was shared with contractors several weeks ago. We are aware some interpreters have raised concerns about this and we have met with them to discuss why the changes are necessary.”

Police whistleblower: I was told to withhold evidence during Emma Caldwell murder inquiry



Paul Hutcheon

Investigations Editor

Sunday 31 May 2015

A POLICE whistleblower has claimed he was told to withhold potential evidence by fellow officers during the investigation into one of Scotland's most famous unsolved murders.

Above left, photos of Emma Caldwell from childhood to her                            descent into addiction. Above, police at the scene where her body was found

Above left, photos of Emma Caldwell from childhood to her descent into addiction. Above, police at the scene where her body was found Aksoy Ozer, a former constable who worked as a translator in the case of murdered prostitute Emma Caldwell, gave a statement to Strathclyde Police in 2007 alleging misconduct by officers in two forces.

He alleged that he was asked to lie about his use of audio equipment in the probe, and claimed he was warned against speaking to his doctor about the case after saying he felt under "immense pressure".

Ozer added that he spoke Turkish - the language of the original suspects - on a "very limited basis" and held "no formal qualifications in translating".

The case against the Turkish men collapsed and Police Scotland is now preparing to re-investigate a lead regarding a Scottish suspect described as an "obsessive user" of prostitutes.

Highlands MSP John Finnie said the Ozer allegations had to be investigated "as a matter of urgency" by officers unconnected to the original murder case.

Caldwell, a 27 year old heroin addict who was working as a street prostitute to feed her addiction, was found dead in woods near Biggar in 2005. She was one of eight prostitutes murdered in Glasgow between 1991 and 2005. The murders created fear that a serial killer was on the loose, and trawling Glasgow's redlight area for victims.

Emma Caldwell's murder led to one of Strathclyde Police's biggest murder investigations and thousands of witness statements were taken. However, ten years on, no-one has been brought to justice.

In the original investigation, officers believed that several Turkish men were linked to Caldwell's death and set up a surveillance operation in a cafe in Glasgow used by the then suspects.

The covert activity produced what police believed at the time were incriminating translations and four Turkish men were arrested in August 2007.

However, experts challenged the translations and the case never went to trial. One of the consultants, Oxford-based academic Professor Kerem Oktem, had been hired by Strathclyde police to carry out a review.

He said: "We concluded that based on the material we were provided, the recordings, that it was not possible to make any conclusive statement about their involvement in the murder. It was simply not possible based on the material in the recordings."

It has since emerged that officers on the case had downplayed a local, non-Turkish suspect, who is alleged to have been an "obsessive user of prostitutes" with a "very violent history".

This suspect also admitted in police interviews to taking Caldwell to the murder site on previous occasions.

A Sunday Herald investigation can now reveal internal allegations of police misconduct during the failed probe into the Turkish men.

Ozer, born in Edinburgh to Turkish parents, had been seconded to work on the investigation from Grampian Police in early 2006 to help on the surveillance side.

He and other officers who had knowledge of the Turkish language were drafted in to translate recorded conversations and produce transcripts.

In November 2007, weeks after the Turkish men had been arrested, Ozer gave the Strathclyde force a written statement about the alleged behaviour of other officers.

He wrote how, eight months earlier, in "preparation for arrests", he was instructed to download specific conversations involving the suspects onto a hard disc.

These discs, he wrote, were to be used for interviewing the suspects.

He stated: "[An officer] then went on to tell me that I was to ensure that in any references to this downloading that I had to state that [officer] was present when I did so as I was not fully trained in the use of the programme. This [officer] was not present when I used this programme."

When Ozer began to use the downloading equipment, he wrote that he picked up "more information" than before: "I went onto explain that in using this equipment I had found errors in my previous transcripts. I offered to go over all the transcripts using this new equipment. I was told not to as the case was already with the procurator fiscal. I was further told to just write down any additional information and not to officially record it as before."

Ozer continued downloading and found yet more information relating to the case, a discovery he said did not impress a colleague: "[The officer] immediately asked why this had not come out previously and I explained the use of the new equipment. [The officer] then told me 'we could have a problem here, if this came out in a trial then we would be questioned as to why we never listened to all the discs using the new equipment'."

"[The officer] then told me not to mention this and to withhold this from the trial. I was extremely concerned regarding this as I had just been told to lie in court."

Within weeks of making the statement, the Turkish suspects were released on bail and the case was dropped in mid-2008.

Ozer also provided details of a meeting with officers in 2007, in which he informed those present that he wanted an appointment with his doctor due to feeling "immense pressure".

He wrote: "At this point, [officer] ordered me that I could not discuss matters with my doctor. This took me aback."

Ozer also wrote that, after receiving an assurance he was off the inquiry, an officer told him that this was not the case: "[Officer] told me that [officer] had decided that I would remain in the case but would be described as an advisor and that I would be required to submit a statement to that effect."

In addition, he stated that he was "not trained" to use a specialist listening device and said cassettes and logs of sensitive materials were located in an "insecure filing cabinet".

Ozer, who has dual British-Turkish nationality, also wrote: "I am not 100% fluent in the language and only speak on a very limited basis. I have little or no knowledge of the Kurdish language. I have no education on the Turkish language and I hold no formal qualifications in translating."

He flagged up the misconduct allegations to the then Lord Advocate Elish Angiolini in a letter in 2008 and lodged two grievances with the police.

In his letter to Angiolini, he wrote: "Could you please confirm if The Crown Office have investigated or instructed an investigation into my allegations?"

The Crown Office wrote that the Professional Standards Unit at Strathclyde Police had been asked to look at matters raised by Ozer.

In 2009, Ozer's representatives from SEMPER Scotland (Supporting Ethnic Minority Police staff for Equality in Race) wrote to Alex Salmond, at that point the police officer's constituency MSP, in which he mentioned the witness statement.

The representative stated that Ozer believed he had been "made the scapegoat for the failure of the investigation". He quit the police in 2010.

Finnie, who was a police officer before becoming an MSP, said if Ozer was "told to withhold information from any trial and instructed not to share his growing concerns with his GP then the public need assurances that such malpractice has been or will be rooted out.

"These matters constitute a potential attempt to pervert the course of justice and must be examined, as a matter of urgency, by senior police officers with no connection to the former Strathclyde Police or this enquiry and be overseen by Crown Office officials likewise unconnected to the original case.

"The obligation on the police is to provide all evidence to the Crown Office Procurator Fiscal Service, not simply selective extracts which purport to support any predetermined view as to the accused."

Police Scotland Chief Superintendent Ellie Mitchell of Professional Standards said: "A number of internal issues were raised, inquiries carried out and disposals made."

Assistant Chief Constable Malcolm Graham said of the reinvestigation: "Police Scotland's priority is to focus on undertaking a reinvestigation of the murder of Emma Caldwell. We are at an advanced stage in preparations to conduct that.

"It is hoped that advances in investigative techniques and forensics will assist in the investigation. All necessary resources with the appropriate skills and experience will be deployed to ensure a thorough investigation takes place.

"Senior officers from Police Scotland will be meeting with the family to outline the plans already in place and provide further information on the areas to be explored in an attempt to identify new evidential opportunities."

A Crown Office spokesperson said: "Following a complaint against the police a report was submitted to the Procurator Fiscal.

"After careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances, Crown Counsel concluded that there was insufficient admissible evidence and there should be no action in relation to this matter.

"Crown Counsel's decision was communicated to Mr Ozer in October 2010."

Ozer declined to comment.



Notice from the Professional Interpreters for Justice (PI4J) following a workshop on 30th March with MoJ


"MoJ hosted a productive and informative workshop with PI4J representatives on 30 March 2015. The workshop provided valuable insight and understanding on the issue of regulatory style functions that could potentially be considered to ensure the next generation framework agreement delivers a quality service at an affordable cost to the taxpayer. These functions were considered in the wider context of resources, ongoing assessment and rare languages.


The next steps will be to use the feedback and points raised during discussions to inform decisions made in the work leading up to the re-tender exercise later this year."

NRPSI newsletter:

Having trouble viewing this email? View a pdf version.



April 2015

I hope you find this issue an informative and enjoyable read. If you have a suggestion for inclusion in the newsletter, please email  This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

Also, don’t forget to join the NRPSI LinkedIn group ‘Reflections on PSI Ethics’ – a forum for Registrants to discuss issues relating to the NRPSI Code of Conduct and general ethical issues that arise from working as a public service interpreter in the UK. You are also encouraged to follow the NRPSI LinkedIn Company Page, where we publicise the latest developments at NRPSI.

Stephen Bishop
Executive Director, NRPSI

New Ministry of Justice framework


The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) has issued a Prior Information Notice (PIN), indicating the establishment of a new commercial arrangement for language services in the justice system to succeed the current framework. The MoJ contract with Capita TI ends in October 2016. The MoJ has commenced a consultation process. As part of this there was an initial Regulatory Framework Workshop with representatives from Professional Interpreters for Justice (including NRPSI) on 30 March 2015. There will also be other meetings and workshops including a supplier day on 1 May 2015.

The outline plan is for the procurement competition to be developed by the MoJ and its stakeholders over the summer of 2015, ready for the language contract to be put to tender later in 2015. The contract award will then take place in the spring of 2016. The MoJ estimates that justice system spend under any resulting contract is likely to be in the £80-160m range.

NHS England producing language specification


NHS England, which is responsible for primary care, has started work on a quality standards framework and draft specification for commissioning interpreting and translation services. They will be holding a number of open days around the country as part of this. NRPSI will be attending the event in London on 21 May to provide feedback on the standards of interpreting that should be employed in health settings.

PSIT Networking Group conference on interpreting in health


The date has now been confirmed as 3 July 2015 for this one-day conference that will bring together interpreters and those engaging interpreters in health settings. If you already interpret in the health sector, or don’t but are interested in finding out what is involved (22% who answered our Registrant Survey said they would be interested in working in this area for the first time), this is the conference for you! See the Events page of our website to find out how to register for this event, to be held at the London Metropolitan University Moorgate site, and pay the £20 fee.

Crown Commercial Services framework


Due to the election period of ‘purdah’, the Crown Commercial Services (CCS) has ‘paused’ its framework (see issues 20, 22, 23 and 26 of the Registrants’ Newsletter). The CCS expect to release the tender after a recognised government has been formed following the 7 May election.



National Register at ITI conference, 23-25 April 2015


The ITI conference in Newcastle was well attended and the NRPSI stand was visited both by existing Registrants and interpreters interested in registering. We also had some interesting conversations with other organisations and took the opportunity to attend the thought-provoking session on remote interpreting by Dr Sabine Braun from the University of Surrey.

User Survey results


About 14% of NRPSI website users who agreed to receive communications responded to the survey. Interestingly, while 70% had been in their current role for more than four years, over a quarter had used the website to search for interpreters for the first time in the last year, indicating increasing awareness of the National Register.

Asked about their satisfaction with the standard of interpreting provided, 61% said they were “very satisfied” with the interpreting provided by Registrants they had engaged. By comparison, only 18% were “very satisfied” with the interpreting provided by those not on the Register. There was also a high level of recognition for NRPSI’s work with 82% stating that it is upholding PSI standards. A high proportion of users (79%) considered it to be “very important” for their interpreters to be engaging in Continuing Professional Development (CPD). It is therefore good to note that 86% of those who responded to our Registrant Survey indicated that they are carrying out some sort of CPD, with over 40% carrying out more than 25 hours annually.

© 2015 NRPSI. All Rights Reserved.
NRPSI Ltd is a not-for-profit organisation. Registered in England No 7585982. NRPSI Ltd., Longcroft House Business Centre, 2/8 Victoria Avenue, London EC2M 4NS





Interpreting and Translation Updates 

by Klasiena Slaney  Twitter: interpreter@nrpsinterpreter 

interpreter language notes



Public Interpreting Saga Continues -What are court interpreters afraid of?



April 10, 2015 § Leave a comment

Extract: "Unfortunately, many interpreters prefer to submissively accept the new rules and comply, even if it means less income, even when it is demeaning to the profession.  They are acting and reacting out of fear.  The thought of waking up tomorrow and realizing they do not have to go to court because they were not asked to interpret scares them to death. To them, court work, even in exchange for a rock bottom fee is peace of mind.  They firmly believe that as long as they keep working, even when underpaid, they are doing the best they can. This is the biggest problem that court interpreting faces as a profession in the United States, because, unlike our colleagues in the U.K., too many court interpreters in America are willing to roll with the punches and work more for less and under worst conditions. "

Now it's the turn of the interpreters in the Netherlands to boycott:

Dutch Interpreter @Dutch_interpret · Apr 10

APS: Tolken weigeren werk voor overheid tegen verplichte dumptarieven … Interpreters in NL boycott contractor #xl8 #1nt

Public service interpreters in the Netherlands are now boycotting the govt. contractor TCVN … #MOJFWA Groundhog Day

Check this out:
Legal fairness demands protection of the right to interpreters

Laura Moore ‏@LauraMoore49  Apr 11

A female client of mine had her case adj s5 till Monday because there was no Portuguese interpreter #crapita #criminallaw #crime #courts

Oliver Gardner ‏@oliversgardner  2h2 hours ago

At court today my case is adjourned for 2nd time with no plea because for 2nd time Crapita were unable to provide interpreter.

CourtNewsUK ‏@CourtNewsUK  10h10 hours ago

I'm guessing the Romanian interpreter isn't that good if the tannoy keeps repeating 'Romanian interpreter to court 5' for last 20 minutes

Jonathan Black ‏@jonblackbsb  11h11 hours ago

Duty call : non English speaker stealing 3 bottles of baby milk , paid for further 2. No address no interpreter. How much will this cost ?

Given the #MOJ's problems with interpreters, are we now looking at the Ministry of Silly Talks?


1.    Anthony Evans ‏@Dukevfr  Mar 19

Who have @NRCPD @ASLIuk @NUBSLI & VLP been talking to? @UKLabour don't seem to know about the MoJ F'work or National F'work. #DividedWeFall

@Dukevfr @NRCPD @ASLIuk @UKLabour several MPs aware of MoJ framework and have strongly supported spoken language interpreters 

@nrpsinterpreter I know these things. My tweet was highlighting the fact that I asked @Ed_Miliband face to face about it & he didn't know!

Criminal legal aid challenge resumes #MoJ's back of a fag packet sums a facsimile of interpreters #MOJFWA 'rationale' …

@lincolnslawyer @Linguist_Lounge It's #MOJ / #Crapita clever idea of job stacking for interpreters - volume to justify peanuts paid. #MoJFWA

The case established that Capita’s failure to provide the interpreters was a breach of its agreement with MoJ …

UPDATED MOJ guidance on court interpreters (as of 5th January 2015). Can you spot the changes?... 


@avwinter: … It is unfair to try a case if a party does not understand. MoJ's cost-cutting contracts overlook this.

Capita ordered to pay costs over failure to provide interpreters to family courts

Judgment comes amid mounting concern within the judiciary over delays and extra costs caused by private contractors on court service

 Judge Sir James Munby said Capita had been guilty of 'serial failures'. Owen Bowcott, legal affairs correspondent


Monday 2 February 2015 22.37 GMTShare on Facebook

Capita, the private outsourcing company, has been ordered to pay £16,000 by the most senior judge in the family courts for its “lamentable” failure to provide interpreters seven times in the course of a single adoption case.

The damning comments made by Sir James Munby, president of the family division, highlight concern among lawyers and MPs at the way in which the £300m contract is operated. Labour’s justice spokesman said it demonstrated the contract was out of control.

Two years ago the justice select committee described the manner in which the court interpreting service was privatised as “shambolic” and said it had resulted in trials collapsing and suspects being remanded unnecessarily in custody.

Capita took over the service in 2012 after it bought another firm, ALS, which had been awarded the contract. Hundreds of professional interpreters are still boycotting the service over what they say are low fees.

This is believed to be the largest single costs order imposed on Capita for problems with its interpreting service. In his judgment, Munby said there had been a “repeated failure” by Capita to provide Slovak interpreters in a family court case launched in 2012.

On six occasions at Dover family proceedings court, Capita’s interpreters failed to arrive or were too late forcing the abandonment of hearings at which the parents were contesting the removal of their children.

When the case was transferred to the high court in London in May 2014 to be heard by Munby, the interpreters failed to appear again. He was forced to adjourn the proceedings and ordered that HM Courts and Tribunal Service should instead provide interpreters.

Munby explained: “It would have been unjust, indeed inhumane, to continue with the final hearing of applications as significant as those before me – this, after all, was their final opportunity to prevent the adoption of their children – if the parents were unable to understand what was being said.”

The judge continued: “There have been serial failures by Capita in this case against a background of wider systemic problems... The failures .... were not minor but extensive, and, at two different stages of the litigation, they had a profound effect on the conduct of the proceedings.”

Capita will not be liable for every occasion it fails to provide an interpreter, he added, ”lamentable though its failures to provide such interpreters were in this particular case and, seemingly, more generally. Everything will depend upon the precise circumstances of the particular case”.

The judge ordered Capita to pay Kent county council £15,927.36. Munby’s judgment comes amid mounting concern within the judiciary over delays and additional costs caused by private contractors on the court service. Last month a judge-led review by Sir Brian Leveson suggested that private security firms that delay delivering prisoners to court should face stiff financial penalties.

Commenting on the ruling, Labour’s shadow justice minister, Andy Slaughter, said: “This is another damning blow to [justice secretary] Chris Grayling from one of Britain’s top judges. It is truly shocking that the government are unable to get a grip three years into the contract.

“Capita’s under performance in providing interpreting and translation services is an embarrassment from which even this Lord Chancellor cannot hide from as official figures show that hundreds of interpreters are continuing to turn up late or not at all.”

A spokesperson for Capita said: “Due to ongoing legal procedures, it would not be appropriate to comment at this stage.”


Many criminal practitioners are demanding answers from the Legal Aid Agency over what they say is uncertainty regarding proposed cuts in fees.

Mr Jonathan Black, president of the London Criminal Courts Solicitors’ Association, has written to the Legal Aid Agency over concerns about a planned second 8.75% cut to the Litigators’ Graduated Fee Scheme (LGFS) and an 8.25% cut to the Advocates’ Graduated Fee Scheme (AGFS). Read More>>

Linguist Lounge

Meanwhile in Ireland... A translation service brings legal action after the interpreter contract is awarded to rivals. Will they be successful? An interesting story worth watching.

Translation service brings legal action against Garda Commisioner's after interpreter contract...
A translation service has brought a legal challenge to the Garda Commissioner's decision to award a contract for the supply of language interpretation...
Linguist Lounge

4 mins · 

*Case study* - Interpreters at this event in Staffordshire have helped to break down the barriers in a diverse community, raise awareness, promote social cohesion and educate migrants about how local systems work. viaThe Sentinel:…/story-26317881-…/story.html


Translators help Eastern European residents to get to know their Normacot neighbours

TRANSLATORS are helping to break down the barriers in a diverse community where almost 50 different languages are spoken. For the first time, at Normacot...


European Commission interpreters - SCIC

27 mins · 

Body language - Is everyone fluent?


The shocking differences in basic body language around the world

The body speaks volumes. But what it says depends on the culture you're in.


Interpreter news from abroad:

WordAwareness ‏@WordAwareness  22h22 hours ago

2010 terror trial: Court interpreter receives death threats  #Interpreting

Physical Therapist ‏@ThePTdiaries  Apr 14

Me: Who do you live with? Interpreter and pt appear to argue for 5 minutes Interpreter: "no"

PB Post Courts ‏@pbpcourts  Mar 31

In Judge Kastrenakes' ctrm this a.m., judge needs no interpreter, explains to defendant in English-accented Spanish when he should return.

Open Letter To Francis Maude MP: Scrap the Framework

We, the undersigned, are writing to request that the national framework agreement for language services (interpreting and translation) currently being drafted by the Crown Commercial Services is scrapped with immediate effect, as we believe it is not fit for purpose.

The intended outcome of the framework agreement - to save money and ensure quality provision - cannot possibly be achieved.

Deaf people have already endured months of uncertainty and poorly administered services as a result of the ill-informed changes made to Access to Work. These changes were made with no consultation and demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the industry or of how interpreters work. Deaf people's jobs were placed at significant risk. The issues identified by the Work and Pension Select Committee who held an inquiry into Access to Work can be read here, you will note that viable solutions were offered:

Whilst jobs being placed at risk is a serious issue, the consequences of a framework which covers areas such as health, mental health, social services including child protection and other safeguarding areas could be far worse. Without qualified interpreters, clinicians and other professionals cannot complete their work safely. The risks to the Deaf community are unimaginable. We could, without exaggeration, be talking about loss of life and liberty.

Following on from the disastrous consequences of changes made to Access to Work provision as well as issues of unqualified people being used as interpreters, the BSL interpreting profession is in a state of decline. Almost half of all NRCPD registered interpreters responded to a survey by NUBSLI recently. The results showed that 48% of respondents are thinking about leaving the profession. A considerably depleted workforce would, as in any market, drive fees upwards.

To de-professionalise the industry would have a detrimental effect on the Deaf community and set access levels back to those last seen twenty plus years ago. Given that it takes on average seven years to train a competent interpreter who is safe to practice, the framework could do lasting damage to the Deaf community. We therefore request that this work ceases and alternative solutions sought with the full consultation of the experts in this sector: the Deaf community and BSL interpreters.


#Scrap The Framework Campaign

Sign Your Name by adding it here:

Signed by (organisations):

National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI) - Jennifer Smith, Chair
British Deaf Association (BDA) - Dr Terry Riley OBE, Chair
Stop Changes To Access To Work Campaign - Nicky Evans
Disabled People Against Cuts - Ellen Clifford
Inclusion London - Geraldine O'Halloran

Association of Lipspeakers - Lesley Weatherson

Visual Language Professionals - Vikki Bridson-Vice (Steering Committee)

Deaf Access Cymru - Alison Bryan, Chair

Signed by (individuals):

Nicky Evans                    BSL/English Interpreter
Wes Mehaffy                  BSL/English Interpreter
Martin Fox-Roberts         BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Smith                 BSL/English Interpreter
Mariella Reina                 BSL/English Interpreter
Dr Terry Riley OBE
Susan Billam       
Gary Northfield       
Clare Vinton                     BSL/English Interpreter
Roma Parrick                BSL/English Interpreter              
Maria Munro                     BSL/English Interpreter
Adele Ward                BSL/English Interpreter
Bridget Bree                     BSL/English Interpreter
Philip Bird
Rachel O'Neill                  Lecturer
Gloria Ogborn                BSL/English Interpreter
Donna West                     Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Ali Hetherington            BSL/English Interpreter
Paula Fye                BSL and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Adama Fye
Jenny North
Mike North            Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Ron Langridge
Cathy Davey                        Clinical Supervisor MBACP Sen Accredited
Alison Gilchrist                    BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Dodds         BSL/English Interpreter (Deaf)
Gráinne Sheehan        BSL/English Interpreter and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
James Banks            BSL/English Interpreter
Van Holtom             BSL/English Interpreter
Simon Bristoll            BSL / English Interpreter
Nicky Glegg           
Louise Bodycombe           BSL/English Interpreter
Ivan Osborne                   BSL/English Interpreter
Veronica Nanson        BSL/English Interpreter
Claire Dodds                  BSL/English interpreter
Elizabeth Mercer               BSL/English Interpreter
Diana Coada                  Court interpreter (DPSI)
Louise Gough            Translator (MITI)
Dr Zuzana Windle        Legal interpreter
Hannah Watson         BSL/English Interpreter
Dr Dimitra Kalantzi          Translator (AITI)
Philippe Muriel (MCIL)     French Interpreter (DPSI) & Translator (Dip Trans) - Interpreter Trainer
Christopher Windle
Sarah Powell            Clinical Psychologist
Elvire Roberts                 BSL/English Interpreter
Sue Leschen                    Legal and commercial French Interpreter
Ségolène Neilson             Legal (DPSI), medical and business interpreter and translator   
Rami  Kohli                     Legal (DPSI) Interpreter
Parvin Lackschewitz-Martin    Legal interpreter NRPSI (BA Honours in languages)
Mihaela Patrascu             Legal interpreter DPSI DPI RPSI MCIL
Emma Lipton             Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Laura Orsini             Interpreter (NRPSI) and translator
Irina Norton                      Conference and Public Service Interpreter/translator
Sarah Martin                   Trainee interpreter
Eileen Ford
Yasemin Kafali               Legal interpreter (NRPSI)
Mark West            BSL/English Interpreter
Rebecca Hinks        BSL/English interpreter
Forrai Éva            Legal Interpreter, Hungarian, NRPSI, Met Police
Dione Deans             BSL/English Interpreter

Sami Thorpe                  Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Manzoor Ahmed Khan      Legal interpreter

Rita Layden            BSL/English Interpreter

Daniel Alun Roberts         BSL/English Interpreter

Celia Hulme            Knowledge Transfer Partnership (KTP) Associate

Benjamin Silifant

Gillian Laird

Hazel Flynn                      Clinical Management Lead - Snr Accred BACP

Bibi Lacey-Davidson        BSL/English Interpreter

Tom Mould                       BSL/English Interpreter

Kate Outhwaite                BSL/English Interpreter

Barbara Coll

Bryony Coombe        Medical Underwriter

Cathryn McShane            BSL/English Interpreter

Tawatchai Brome Brito      Interpreter Coordinator

David Phippard        BSL/English Interpreter

Colette Phippard        BSL/English Interpreter

Craig Brown                     BSL/Auslan/English Interpreter

Heidi K. Robertson        Creative Freelancer

Anne-Françoise Boreland     French Interpreter (DPSI) and Translator

Ann Devaney                   BSL/English Interpreter

Emma De Casse           Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Jackie Dennis         BSL/English Interpreter

Anthony Evans          BSL/English Interpreter

Caroline Ridley          Community Occupational Therapist working in Deafness/Mental Health

Mimi McQuaid         Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Philip Wyatt              Psychologist Therapist

Karen Parker          Teacher/Trainer Freelancer

Liz Wyatt             BSL/English Interpreter

Freya Hill             Communications Assistant
Yvonne MacAnara          BSL/English Interpreter

Jenny Guppy                   Teacher of the Deaf

Julia Lord CPsychol        Chartered Counselling Psychologist

Julie Whitaker            Speech-to-Text Reporter

Rob Troy             BSL/English Interpreter

Sahara DeVille         Counsellor

Mary Altabev             Interpreter/Translator NRPSI

Mark Oulton

Stephen Menton          BSL/English Interpreter

Beverley Haslam         BSL/English Interpreter

Stephen Hudson        BSL/English Interpreter

Josie Fray              Trainee BSL / English Interpreter, Social Worker

Caroline Corrigan        BSL/English Interpreter

Parminder Kaur            Legal interpreter NRPSI

Agata McCrindle         Legal Interpreter NRPSI MITI MCIL APCI

John Donald             Senior Psychological Wellbeing Practitioner

Amanda Bavin         STT Reporter

Mary Brumby             BSL/English Interpreter

Cristina Santos          RPSI 13999

Norah Griffiths         Trainee BSL/English Interpreter

Eszter Fejes             RPSI 15008

Mary Brumby             BSL/English Interpreter

Rachael Veazey        BSL/English Interpreter

Valerie Hall             Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Karla Hannigan         BSL/English Interpreter

Vikki Bridson-Vice         BSL/English Interpreter

Carol Spencer         BSL/English Interpreter

Sarah Spencer

Emma Phillips         BSL/English Interpreter

Jason Sharpe

Nicola Williams         BSL/English Interpreter

Norman Thompson         Retired

Laura Davies             BSL/English Interpreter

Lynn Shannon         Service Manager

Dr Nadia Hussein        Arabic Language Legal Interpreter

Annie Brotherton         BSL/English Interpreter

Thomas Giddens         Freelancer

Kate Adams             Trainee Sign Language Interpreter

Diana Hubbard         Legal Interpreter (NRPSI)

Omoyele Thomas         Registered BSL/English Interpreter

Paul Bargery             BSL/English Interpreter

Vicky Pannell             BSL/English Interpreter

Deborah Haly

Louise Tingay         BSL/English Interpreter

Catherine Hare-Cockburn     Deaf employee

Ian Cockburn             Deaf BSL user

Tracey Hurrell         BSL/English Interpreter

Jude Mahon             BSL/English interpreter

Lucy Slater            BSL/English Interpreter

Lee Douthwaite

Jayne Cooke             BSL/English Interpreter

Barry Davey

Jason Bell             BSL/English Interpreter

Isobel Higgins         BSL/English Interpreter

Tracey M Robinson         Registered Manager   

Philip Cowood         Legal interpreter

Elizabeth Smith         BSL/English Interpreter

Alison Green             BSL/English Interpreter

Anne Richardson         BSL/ English Interpreter

Rosanna Harrison         BSL/English Interpreter

Tina Holmes             BSL/English Interpreter

Rose Nest             BSL/English interpreter

Heidi Watson             BSL/English Interpreter

Sign Your Name by adding it here:

Please sign the open letter to Francis Maude MP and get everyone you know to sign too: (click this link:

Deadline Wednesday 25th February 5pm.