The Capita Saga continues
Language Industry Financial News: Capita TI, Yappn, Lionbridge, RR Donnelley
On July 1, 2016, UK-based language service provider (LSP) Capita TI, a subsidiary of giant Capita plc, filed its KPMG-audited financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2015. Revenues grew around 9% to GBP 34m in 2015 (2014: GBP 31.3m). Gross profit took a bit of a hit, decreasing from GBP 9.6m in 2014 to GBP 7.9m in 2015. But Capita shaved over GBP 2m off admin costs and managed to increase EBITDA by over GBP 0.5m to just over GBP 2m in 2015 (2014: GBP 1.5m).
The big news for Capita TI going into 2016 is its exit from the burdensome Ministry of Justice (MoJ) contract. Before issuing the RFP, the MoJ decided to divide the contract into four lots with Lot 1 for face-to-face, telephone, and video interpreting being, by far, the largest piece.
As we reported back in April, Capita TI decided not to bid for Lot 1. In a regulatory filing, Capita TI pegged 2015 revenues from Lot 1 at GBP 23m. For a company with GBP 34m in the business, that is two thirds.
Capita TI will emerge from the contract exit as a much smaller (estimated GBP 11m in annual revenues) yet presumably more profitable company. According to the filing, management will seek to reduce costs to ensure the exit’s impact on profits is minimal. Asked by Slator if the exit meant layoffs, a Capita TI spokesperson did not comment.
Furthermore, the Capita TI spokesperson would not comment on speculations by Rupert Soames, CEO of GBP-3bn outsourcing company Serco, that Capita “may be getting out of its translation services business.” Serco, of course, is key Capita competitor. The company even has an interpretation side business. On July 21, 2016, New Zealand’s Department of Internal Affairs announced the renewal of a phone interpretation contract for Serco worth nearly USD 1m per year.
Capita fails to repeat interpreting target success
The current monopoly service provider of courtroom interpreting has failed to repeat the success of meeting its key performance target, according to latest figures from the Ministry of Justice.
Four years after the controversial outsourcing of courtroom interpreting to a single contractor, Capita Translation and Interpretingfinally met its 98% target in the last quarter of 2015.
However, statistics published by the ministry yesterday show that it completed 97% of requests for language services between January and March this year.
Capita TI’s contract expires on 30 October and will be replaced withnew arrangements.
International language services company Thebigword, formed in Leeds, has won contracts to provide face-to-face interpretation, and written translation and transcription services.
The contract for non-spoken language services has reportedly been offered to Cambridge firm Clarion Interpreting Limited.
The contract for independent quality assurance has reportedly been offered to The Language Shop, a business originally set up by the London Borough of Newham.
The ministry says contracts were offered to its preferred bidders in May and will be signed ‘in due course’.
The statistics show that the most common cause for complaint between January and March was ‘interpreter was late’, which accounted for 160 of the 440 complaints received. The number of total complaints received increased by 10 from the previous quarter.
There were 30 ‘proven’ complaints on interpreter quality, compared with 40 complaints between October and December last year.
The majority of total complaints came from tribunals. The complaint rate at criminal courts was less than 1%.
Interpreter availability accounted for less than 1% (110) of the total number of ineffective trials in the Crown court and magistrates’ court combined.
The total number of off-contract service requests fell from 240 in the last quarter of 2015 to 220 between January and March.
Court interpreting: lesson in failure
1 February 2016By Malcolm Fowler
All credit to Monidipa Fouzder for yet another attritional contribution to the scandalous running sore that is the outsourced non-provision of professional interpreter services.
As has been asserted by more than one parliamentary select committee, this has been an object lesson in how not to decant core ministerial duties to mega-companies with poor track records of delivery. It would be funny were it less serious and less guaranteed to wrench us back to the future, with the next resultant miscarriage of justice case likely to hit the streets any time now. For a nanosecond or two perhaps, the odd hand will be raised in horror.
And so, at a snail’s pace, we are assured that things improve. Who says? Well, Capita actually, since under its contract it marks its own homework (nice work if you can get it; many a legal aid practitioner would rather like that). And the £38m in savings on interpreting services? Whose figures are these, since the Ministry of Justice is on record as keeping none of its own? Yes, got it in one: Capita’s. And in any event, what of all the costs thrown away in delays and aborted hearings? Right again: the MoJ has no idea since it keeps no records, but vastly more in any event than the supposed savings.
We must continue to watch both organ grinder and factotum like dyspeptic hawks – and so we shall.
Malcolm Fowler, solicitor and higher-court advocate, Dennings, Tipton
July 21st, 2016 by Robert Spicer
Court of Appeal decision on the meaning of “employee”: freelance interpreters
Case Secretary of State for Justice v Windle and Arada (2016) Eq Opp Rev 269:25, Court of Appeal
Facts W and A were freelance interpreters for the Courts and Tribunal Service. They were accepted as self-employed for tax purposes. They were only paid for the work which they did. The Service had no obligation to offer them work and they had no obligation to accept work. They complained of race discrimination. The issue was whether they were employees. The ET found that they were not. On appeal to the EAT, the appeal was allowed on the basis that mutuality of obligation was not relevant in determining status for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010. The Service appealed to the Court of Appeal.
Decision 1. The appeal was allowed.
2. The ET had been entitled to find that the fact that there was no over-arching or umbrella contract which subsisted between individual assignments was a relevant consideration in determining whether or not they were employees.
15th June 2016 Interpreters' News!
In the UK Home Office caseworkers handling asylum cases need training, says bishop according to The Christian Times.
The Christian Today article mentioned the case of an Ahmadi Muslim, who surmised that the interpreter during his interview had not translated his ...
The Huffington Post: Refugee seeking U.K. asylum may be thwarted by religious bias.
The report, “Fleeing Persecution: Asylum Claims in the UK on Religious ... Fair assessments, it continues, would include checking with interpreters ...
The BBC conducted an interview with a simultaneous interpreter working in 5 languages at the European Parliament.
An interesting link to send to people who do not quite know what simultaneous interpreters do!
Interpreter who was denied refuge in Britain executed in Afghanistan
... Interpreter who was denied refuge in Britain executed in Afghanistan ...
The interpreter served with British forces in Helmand province but was reportedly denied refuge by the UK in spite of Taliban death threats
"David Cameron must "urgently" offer sanctuary to Afghan interpreters including a translator who worked for him, the head of the defence select committee has said.
Julian Lewis said it is "extraordinary" that the government is refusing to give asylum to those who have put themselves at risk for Britain."
Julian Lewis, the head of the defence select committee, says it is 'extraordinary' that Britain is failing to offer asylum to 200 Afghan interpreters