Frequently Asked Questions regarding the Ministry of Justice outsourcing
What is the situation with the MoJ? The Ministry of Justice has recently announced that Applied Language Solutions (ALS) has been awarded a framework agreement by the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) after a 12 month procurement process. The MoJ and other justice organisations including police forces, the Crown Prosecution Service and probation trusts will be able to sign contracts under the framework agreement for the delivery of interpretation and translation services.
Has NRPSI been taken over by ALS? No, NRPSI continues to be run as an independent non-statutory regulator. We will also continue to operate an open access register which is available to all to find interpreters and to check if the interpreter they have been provided is registered. The register continues to be accessed by local authorities, police forces, solicitors, charities, tribunals, health providers and many government departments in the UK and international organisations such as the International Criminal Court.
What is the NRPSI doing about this issue? The Board has decided to seek meetings with the following organisations in order to gain as much information about this situation as possible.
- The Ministry of Justice
- Association of Chief Police Officers
- Interpreters Membership bodies and trade unions
- Applied Language Solutions
In light of awarding ALS a framework agreement by MoJ, are there plans to close NRPSI down? No there are no plans to close NRPSI In fact we see it as an opportunity to promote NRPSI even harder within the justice sector as being the independent assurance of high quality and standards in public service interpreting. We also recognise that the Register serves other parts of the sector including health and local government and that there are opportunities to build on this even further.
ALS supplies qualified and unqualified interpreters. Will you be able to ensure that only qualified interpreters are given interpreting assignments in public sector? We are seeking meetings with the Ministry of Justice and ALS for find out what their intentions are. This will then enable us to formulate a response. As soon as we have any information we will inform interpreters.
I hear that ALS payment for interpreting assignments is low. Is it anything you can do about this? Issues relating to payment are beyond our remit as a regulator. Rates of pay are an issue best dealt with by trade unions and membership organisations. Whilst we would see that the fact that an interpreter is on the Register is visible evidence of a high level of quality which should attract appropriate rates all interpreters are self-employed and if they are unhappy with the rate of pay offered for an assignment then they are under no obligation to take the assignment.
Are you going to keep us updated as to the changes? We will keep interpreters informed of any developments as we are made aware of them. Please check our web site news section for regular updates and if you are a registrant to help us keep you in touch please check your record shown in the Interpreters room to ensure that your contact details are up to date and that we have your correct email address.
Why was it awarded to ALS? We cannot comment on the tendering process and why the MoJ awarded the contract to ALS because we were not part of the process.
What is the point of me renewing my NRPSI registration? All professions have three requirements – a membership body, a trade union and a Regulator. The Regulator ensures that the highest standards are maintained and investigates breaches of codes of conduct. Being on the UK’s National Register shows to potential clients that you have passed our stringent criteria for entry and that you have agreed to abide by a code of conduct (and if you breach that code you can be held accountable). This will give your clients peace of mind as a non-registered interpreter cannot be held accountable for poor performance or unprofessional behaviour.
I do not want to work for an agency; do I have to work for ALS? Don’t forget that being registered with NRPSI is a visible demonstration of your professional status which has a market value. However if you do not wish to work for an agency then you can say no to the work offered by them.
If I find that I am not getting any work in the future from NRPSI because of the outsourcing to ALS can I resign my registration and have a refund? The registration fee is non-refundable, therefore if you choose to resign from the register you will not be entitled to a refund. When you register with National Register you are not paying for a job matching service (though it is true that a lot of interpreters get work through our on-line register this is not our primary role) you are paying for our regulatory function. Being on the register is a guarantee to any potential clients that you are qualified, eligible to work in the UK, security checked and abide by a Code of Conduct. We also investigate any potential breaches of our code of professional conduct.
Will NRPSI continue to publish my details on its Website? Yes, of course. Please also note that the decision as to what information is published, including the type and level of contact information (or if required, no contact information) will continue to be decided by the individual registrant.