National Framework Agreement for Interpreting: what services does it cover?

imageThe contract notice for the Framework is out and it makes for a shocking read when you look at the services it covers in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland. It is easier to ask what service or government departments it doesn’t cover. The answer: none or certainly not many.

The contract notice lists organisations from pages 22 – 29. I paste below to illustrate this is a coordinated attack on the whole interpreting profession, spoken and sign languages in a bid to control and reduce prices to unsustainable levels.

Of course we won’t know the full extent of the damage until it becomes clear who has won places on the framework, what contracts they hold and what prices they fell to in order to win contracts. A possible 3 agencies per region of which there are 5. 15 possible suppliers and a bidding war by agencies to get their places followed by further competitions for contracts (known as call-offs from the framework). The future does not look bright. Thank goodness for NUBSLI.

Authorites eligible to buy contracts from the framework:

Central Government Departments, Local Government and Public Corporations that can be accessed at the Public Sector Classification Guide: http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/rel/na-classification/national-accounts-sector-classification/index.html Local Authorities http://openlylocal.com/councils/all http://www.ubico.co.uk NDPBs https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations National Parks Authorities http://www.nationalparks.gov.uk/ Educational Establishments in England and Wales, maintained by the Department for Children, Schools and Families including Schools, Universities and Colleges but not Independent Schools http://www.education.gov.uk/edubase/home.xhtml Police Forces in the United Kingdom http://www.police.uk/?view=force_sites http://apccs.police.uk/about-the-apcc/ Fire and Rescue Services in the United Kingdom http://www.fireservice.co.uk/information/ukfrs http://www.nifrs.org/areas-districts/ http://www.firescotland.gov.uk/your-area.aspx NHS Bodies England http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/AcuteTrustListing.aspx http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/MentalHealthTrustListing.aspx http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/CareTrustListing.aspx http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/AmbulanceTrustListing.aspx http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/SpecialHealthAuthorityListing.aspx http://www.nhs.uk/ServiceDirectories/Pages/OtherListing.aspx Hospices in the UK http://www.helpthehospices.org.uk/about-hospice-care/find-a-hospice/uk-hospice-and-palliative-care- services/ Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) Third Sector and Charities in the United Kingdom http://www.charitycommission.gov.uk/find-charities/ http://www.oscr.org.uk/search-charity-register/ https://www.charitycommissionni.org.uk/ShowCharity/RegisterOfCharities/RegisterHomePage.aspx Citizens Advice in the United Kingdom http://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/index/getadvice.htm http://www.cas.org.uk http://www.citizensadvice.co.uk/ Scottish Public Bodies The Framework Agreement will be available for use by any Scottish Public Sector Body: the Authority; Scottish Non-Departmental Public Bodies; offices in the Scottish Administration which are not ministerial offices; cross-border public authorities within the meaning of section 88(5) of the Scotland Act 1998; the Scotland Office; the Scottish Parliamentary Corporate Body; councils constituted under section 2 of the Local Government etc. (Scotland) Act 1994 (except where they are acting in their capacity as educational authority); Scottish joint fire boards or joint fire and rescue boards; Scottish joint police boards or anysuccessor National Police or Fire Authority; Scottish National Park authorities, bodies registered as social landlords under the Housing (Scotland) Act 2001, Scottish health boards or special health boards, Student Loans Company Limited, Northern Lighthouse Board, further or higher education institutions being fundable bodies within the meaning of section 6 of the Further and Higher Education (Scotland) Act 2005 any public body established by or under the Scotland Act 1998 or any Act of the Scottish Parliament, any association of or formed by one or more of the foregoing, bodies financed wholly or mainly by one or more of the foregoing, bodies subject to management supervision by one or more of the foregoing and bodies more than half of the board of directors or members of which, or, in the case of a group of individuals, more than half of those individuals, being appointed by one or more of the foregoing. Scottish Government http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Home Scottish Parliament http://www.scottish.parliament.uk/abouttheparliament/27110.aspx Scottish Public Services Ombudsman Scottish Information Commissioner Commissioner for Children and Young People in Scotland Scottish Commission for Human Rights Commission for Ethical Standards in Public Life in Scotland Standards Commission for Scotland Scottish Local Authorities http://www.scotland.gov.uk/About/Government/councils http://www.scotland-excel.org.uk/home/AboutUs/OurMembers/AssociateMembers.aspx Scottish Agencies, NDPBs http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Government/public-bodies/about/Bodies Scottish NHS Bodies http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Topics/Health/NHS-Workforce/NHS-Boards Scottish Further and Higher Education Bodies http://www.universities-scotland.ac.uk/index.php?page=members http://www.sfc.ac.uk/aboutus/council_funded_institutions/WhoWeFundColleges.aspx Scottish Police http://www.scotland.police.uk/your-community/ Scottish Housing Associations http://www.sfha.co.uk/component/option,com_membersdir/Itemid,149/view,membersdir/ The Scotland Office http://www.scotlandoffice.gov.uk/scotlandoffice/33.30.html Registered Social Landlords (Housing Associations) – Scotland http://www.esystems.scottishhousingregulator.gov.uk/register/reg_pub_dsp.search Scottish Schools Primary Schools http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/scottishschoolsonline/index.asp? schoolsearchstring=&addresssearchstring=&authority=&strTypes=isprimaryschool&bSubmit=1&Submit=Search Secondary Schools http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/scottishschoolsonline/index.asp? schoolsearchstring=&addresssearchstring=&authority=&strTypes=issecondaryschool&bSubmit=1&Submit=Sear Special Schools http://www.ltscotland.org.uk/scottishschoolsonline/index.aspschoolsearchstring=&addresssearchstring=&authority=&strTypes=isspecial&bSubmit=1&Submit=Search Scottish Public Bodies National Records of Scotland Historic Scotland Disclosure Scotland Registers of Scotland Scottish Qualification Authority Scottish Courts Service Scottish Prison Service Transport Scotland The Scottish Government Core Directorates Highlands and Islands Enterprise Crown Office & Procurator Fiscal Service Scottish Police Authority National Museums of Scotland Scottish Children’s Reporter Administration Scottish Enterprise Scottish Environment Protection Agency Scottish Legal Aid Board Scottish Natural Heritage Skills Development Scotland Visit Scotland Aberdeen City Council Aberdeenshire Council Angus Council Argyll and Bute Council City of Edinburgh Council Clackmannanshire Council Comhairle nan Eilean Siar Dumfries and Galloway Council Dundee City Council East Ayrshire Council East Dunbartonshire Council East Lothian Council East Renfrewshire Council Falkirk Council Fife Council Glasgow City Council Highland Council Inverclyde Council Midlothian Council Moray Council, The North Ayrshire Council North Lanarkshire Council Orkney Islands Council Perth and Kinross Council Renfrewshire Council Scottish Borders Council Shetland Islands Council South Ayrshire Council South Lanarkshire Council Stirling Council West Dunbartonshire Council West Lothian Council Central Scotland Fire and Rescue Service Dumfries and Galloway Fire and Rescue Service Fife Fire and Rescue Service Grampian Fire and Rescue Service Highlands and Islands Fire and Rescue Service Lothian and Borders Fire and Rescue Service Strathclyde Fire and Rescue Service Tayside Fire and Rescue Service Golden Jubilee Hospital (National Waiting Times Centre Board) NHS 24 NHS Ayrshire and Arran NHS Borders NHS Dumfries and Galloway NHS Education for Scotland NHS Fife NHS Forth Valley NHS Grampian NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde NHS Health Scotland NHS Highland NHS Lanarkshire NHS Lothian NHS Orkney Healthcare Improvement Scotland NHS Shetland NHS Tayside NHS Western Isles Scottish Ambulance Service The Common Services Agency for the Scottish Health Service The State Hospital for Scotland Aberdeen College Adam Smith College Angus College Anniesland College Ayr College Banff and Buchan College Barony College Borders College Cardonald College Carnegie College Central College of Commerce Clydebank College Coatbridge College Cumbernauld College Dumfries and Galloway College Dundee College Edinburghs Telford College Elmwood College Forth Valley College Glasgow College of Nautical Studies Glasgow Metropolitan College Inverness College James Watt College Jewel and Esk College John Wheatley College Kilmarnock College Langside College Lews Castle College Moray College Motherwell College Newbattle Abbey College North Glasgow College North Highland College Oatridge College Orkney College Perth College Reid Kerr College Sabhal Mor Ostaig Shetland College South Lanarkshire College Stevenson College Stow College Queen Margaret University Robert Gordon University Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama Scottish Agricultural College UHI Millennium Institute University of Aberdeen University of Abertay Dundee University of Dundee University of Edinburgh University of Glasgow University of St Andrews University of Stirling University of Strathclyde University of the West of Scotland Cairngorms National Park Authority Office of Scottish Charity Regulator Forestry Commission Scotland Audit Scotland Welsh Public Bodies National Assembly for Wales, Welsh Assembly Government and Welsh Local Authorities, and all bodies covered by: http://www.assemblywales.org/abthome/abt-links.htm http://new.wales.gov.uk/about/civilservice/directorates/?lang=en NHS Wales http://www.wales.nhs.uk/ourservices/directory Housing Associations – Registered Social Landlords Wales NI Public Bodies Northern Ireland Government Departments http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/gov.htm Northern Ireland Public Sector Bodies and Local Authorities http://www.northernireland.gov.uk/az2.htm Schools in Northern Ireland http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/search.lsim?sr=0&nh=10&cs=iso-8859-1&sc=nidirect- cms&sm=0&mt=1&ha=nidirect-cms&cat=Banner&qt=SCHOOLS Universities in Northern Ireland http://www.deni.gov.uk/links.htm#colleges Health and Social care in Northern Ireland http://www.hscni.net/index.php?link=hospitals http://www.hscni.net/index.php?link=boards http://www.hscni.net/index.php?link=agencies http://www.hscni.net/index.php?link=councils Northern Ireland Housing Associations http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/index/contacts/contacts-az.htm/housing-associations-contact Police Service of Northern Ireland http://www.psni.police.uk/index.htm

ENDS

 

Revealed: Capita Charges for Interpreting Services

NUBSLI members this morning received leaked information about Capita’s charges under the Ministry of Justice contract. It reveals that Sign Language Interpreters, as usual, are talked about as being expensive yet do not receive anywhere near the money that is being charged for their services. A quick breakdown below…

capitas charges

A half day job with 1 hour travel each way
Capita charge:             £172.80 minimum charge + £80.00 Travel time
£252.80 TOTAL

Interpreter’s fee:           Less than half this amount (using Clarion and Sign Solutions rates outside of London).

Interpreters have been taking a pay cut under this contract for years and not getting travel time/expenses resulting in chaos. I am not the only interpreter I know that refuses to work under this contract due the dodgy practices of the contractors and its sub-contractors.

And I will not work for less than NUBSLI fees guidance. With information like this leak, it is about time ALL interpreters learnt how to negotiate the lies told to us by disreputable agencies and toughened up a bit. If you are not sure how to do this and you need support, there is strength in numbers, NUBSLI is the place to go.

Court and police work should demand the best interpreters in the country and pay accordingly. What a sad, sorry state of affairs that this contract is. We all knew that five years ago when it started, let’s not allow this situation to continue. It isn’t just sign language interpreters who have had the wool pulled over their eyes, the situation for spoken language interpreters has been far worse. It is time to stop it.

NUBSLI Statement on the Release of the National Framework Contract Notice

Reposted from The Nub: http://nubsli.com/the-nub.php

NUBSLI Statement on the Release of the National Framework Contract Notice for Language Services from the Crown Commercial Service

The tender documents for the national framework agreement for interpreting and translation went out today. NUBSLI have been campaigning against this with our #ScrapTheFramework campaign since February 2015 and have successfully delayed the tendering process for over a year.

Today’s development is deeply disappointing and shows that the government are not interested in providing a robust service to ensure high quality access, but are merely aiming to cut cost. This will be to the detriment of the access rights of the Deaf community.

The Cabinet office were unable to provide any answers to the issues we have been raising since September 2014 regarding sustainability of the workforce, breached legislative requirements, or unmet need. The framework cannot meet the needs of the Deaf community and will undoubtedly lead to a deterioration of standards and reduced numbers of qualified BSL/English Interpreters/Translators in the UK.

NUBSLI will continue to fight for the right to fair terms & conditions and fees for its interpreters, and for high quality access for the Deaf community. Even after the launch of the National Framework, all hope is not lost. Coming together as a profession, standing firm with one powerful collective voice will make us impossible to ignore. If you are an interpreter or translator then we urge you to join us. For members of the Deaf community, it is your right to refuse services under this contract.

This government are placing BSL/English Interpreting services at significant risk in the UK.

MoJ interpreting contract: quarter of all BSL bookings cancelled

The government would have us believe the Ministry of Justice (MoJ) framework was a good thing, because it saved them £38 million pounds. This does not accurately reflect what has happened on the ground. A quick trawl of blogs and social media will reveal the MoJ framework (#MoJFWA) has failed. Money saved on the contract has caused untold, incalculable waste in court delays, mistrials and maladministration.
And what of Sign Language interpreters? There are some that would have it that there is no evidence of a fall in standards despite there being plenty of anecdotal evidence that there is. One problem is confidentiality. No one, for example Deaf professionals and interpreters, wants to report sub-standard interpreting in courts when a) they may know the interpreters and b) this means they have the break the confidentiality of the Deaf clients in the court room.

Other interpreters are bound by the (terrible) NRCPD Code of Conduct to report bad practice, yet it happens rarely because 1) we’d hate it if happened to us 2) how do you prove it? 3) complaints rarely seem to progress. A lot of pain for no eventual outcome.

But I’ve blogged about all this before. Let’s talk MoJ stats. Monitoring information from 2014 has been published and a sorry story it does tell.

There were 161,600 completed requests for all languages. 2.2% were for special services listed as: BSL/English interpreters, lip speakers, Deafblind interpreters, speech to text reporters and SSE interpreting (which at least in the States they have the decency to call transliteration rather than use the term SSE like it was anything real). So a total of 3,555 bookings.

Special services did not get over 95% success rate for fulfilment. This document does not reveal what the success rate actually was. 

The stats look fairly innocuous until you look at the cancellations rate for BSL bookings in 2014. Of these 24.5% were cancelled by customer action – customer did not attend or cancelled by customer), an increase of 6.5% in comparison to 2013. 

25%. A quarter. The £38 million spend on interpreting would be far less if everyone got their house in order. But I can posit a guess as to one reason for the high cancellation rate. Subcontracting.

Court cancels a booking. A court clerk, booking officer, police personnel or whoever is administrating bookings needs to get a message back to the supplier i.e. the agency who holds the contract and an effective monopoly, Capita. Capita then needs to contact the subcontractor who then informs the interpreter. So many layers of administration renders an already over-stretched court service ineffective and inefficient via a contract supposedly designed to increase efficiencies. 

The £38 million savings was only down to cutting the pay of spoken language interpreters from £75 under the National Agreement to £21, and that is an increase from the original offering. The rest of the profits are now shared around in framework management fees and profits for the Contractor.

To go back to cancellations fees. Sign Language interpreters cancellation fees are under threat from, historically, Applied Language Solutions winning the tender. They won partly because they promised to deliver a service without offering them. Capita, who took over, continues to use this practice with the subcontractors paying them in some cases. Interpreters have to fight for them.

With 25% of bookings cancelled on arrival, cancellation fees occur in a QUARTER of all bookings. Attempting to not pay these fees was a fallacy and one that would never work. This is a figure that should be kept in mind by interpreters when negotiating their terms and conditions.

What we do know is Capita try and encourage courts to cancel their bookings. Another reason the figure may be so high. They get paid whereas if a booking is unfulfilled they get nothing. I say let us all start refusing to work with them. Interpreters forget that agencies need us to fill contracts. Capita and its subcontractors. There’s only so many in-house interpreters you can try and source to make up the shortfall in freelancers who are refusing to work under the threat that if they take court work which is cancelled there is 25% risk of losing fees altogether. Why should interpreters take the shortfall for everyone else’s mistakes, inefficiencies in the system and contractors greed? Deaf interpreters report their terms and conditions are being pushed even more than other interpreters when their skills should be valued. 

For specialist services, 6.2% of requests were not filled due to the supplier. 0.5% of all bookings were filled off contract by either direct bookings or other agencies. Let’s see these numbers go up and this contract undermined.

When we see stats like this, it is time we all started showing each other some solidarity, standing up for all of us as a collective and refusing to take this any more. Agencies and the government can not do this without us. 

What we do not know yet is how widespread the effect this contract is having on the deaf people who have a right to access the justice system. Until an effective system is in place what is certain is it is not just interpreters that can not survive under this contract, the access rights of Deaf people are being eroded.

RM1092 The National Framework: designed to wreck the Deaf and Interpreting community

After five years of contracting omnishambles and nearly one year of NUBSLI‘s campaigning against the biggest framework for interpreting services we’ve ever seen in the profession, we are still waiting for the biggest mess ever to occur.

This blog has recorded and commented on, over those last five years, the damage that large contracts taken by large agencies have done to the Deaf and interpreting communities.

The trend of ever larger contracts continues despite everything over the last five years pointing to this not benefiting the Deaf community. They are no longer Customers, it is now the government department or Contracting Authority i.e. NHS trust, MoJ, DWP and AtW. The interpreter is no longer the Supplier, it is now the Agency. Layers of administration come between Deaf people and interpreters with choice and control removed and interpreters are left fighting for a sustainable career which if they do not have leaves the Deaf community without an adequate supply of quality interpreters who can afford to work full time and be members of the community.

The national framework is being designed by the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) to bring three existing frameworks together. The most important ones for BSL are RM738 face to face interpreting and the Ministry of Justice’s (MoJ) national framework. The companies that won places on the RM738 framework were: The Big Word, Prestige Network and Language Line. For the MoJ a monopoly was handed to ALS then taken over by Capita. Not a specialist BSL agency in sight. No, all they were left with were sub-contracts to these big guns who knew nothing about Deaf people. Interpreters were left fighting for their rates as the squeeze was on for everyone to get their cut.

Although standards were written into the MoJ the competitive mess sub-contracting brought about meant many experienced court interpreters left it to those who’d accept less. The excellent interpreters booked directly and well-respected by individual courts were pushed out unless they were willing to jump through administrative hoops and be booked by subcontracted agencies, one of whom knew little about legal work, the other dropping its own standards for the sake of saving its business.

Meanwhile with RM738, standards were not exactly high on the list of priorities. With nothing written into the actual framework and scant monitoring agencies were free to use whomever they chose and unqualified signers with GCSE level qualifications they used. And they cared little. One of three, the Big Word, proclaimed publicly in its evidence to the Justice Committee in 2012 that its, “extensive partnering with local suppliers, including SMEs and the voluntary and third sector (sic) ensures that contracts can be filled at a local level”. The reality is they’ve been one of the biggest blights on the sign language interpreting profession over these five years with Capita being another.

Five years on we have a national framework proposed which is based on the same principles as the others. The strategy seems to be increase administration and sub-contracting (which supposedly fills the government’s SME agenda), ignores the work of the registers (by dictating that agencies produce ID cards and provide CPD to interpreters) and fails to measure or understand the basic needs that interpreting services should be designed to fulfil.

On their procurement pipeline, the CCS states, “We do not set policy on how public sector organisations provide access to interpreting services nor do we determine the appropriate qualification levels for interpreters in particular circumstances. The offering is broad and it is for individual customers to establish their requirements in line with their policies when creating a contract under the framework agreement.” This is just one example of a clear lack of respect in setting standards or even understanding them in the first place.

With basic groundwork not done by government departments the national framework, RM1092, is a house of cards built on quicksand. Those who think that standards have been written in and therefore everything with this framework is now perfectly fine would do well to review the NUBSLI visual above and consider each of the points made. Standards written into a document is one thing, there are many other implications of what such a large, badly planned framework can have. Especially when it is designed to cover every type of interpreting, including Access to Work (AtW). Any choice and control in interpreting provision Deaf people had left is about to be removed and if sustainable fees are not paid to interpreters the knock on effect will likely to leave the profession, and the Deaf community, devastated for years to come.

Why NUBSLI are marching at the Stop Changes to Access to Work march

posted originally by NUBSLI | 4 September 2015 on The Nub.

The Stop Changes To Access To Work campaign has always been a collaboration between Deaf and Disabled people and BSL/English interpreters. Very early on, the government’s rhetoric strongly indicated a desire to create a divide between the Deaf community and interpreters (e.g. by grossly overstating the earnings of interpreters). It was partly a response to this situation that instigated the inception of NUBSLI, with an acute awareness that alongside the Deaf community BSL/English interpreters would be targeted by the DWP.

DWP cap on AtW is unnecessary

It is our view that the proposed cap on Access to Work funding serves to further the attempt to divide interpreters and Deaf people, whilst at the same time re-establishing a glass ceiling in the work-place, the very same ceiling that the introduction of Access to Work helped to remove. The cap is a supposed solution to a problem which we believe does not exist.

Two years after the initial requests were made, the government have yet to provide any information on the Return on Investment (ROI) for the Access to Work scheme. They refute the Sayce report figures, which indicated a £1.48 return for every £1 spent, despite having accepted this report and its findings, which they had commissioned.

NUBSLI

NUBSLI continues to work closely with StopChanges, DeafATW, DPAC, Graeae Theatre Company, Inclusion London, Unite the Union and many other campaign groups, and see these relationships as vital in this climate of cuts.

Our aim is to safeguard our profession and the services that our friends, family and colleagues in the Deaf community access. That is why we will be marching on the 26th September and hope you will join us.

Stop Changes to AtW march details

The Department of Work & Pensions’ Access to Work scheme is supposed to make sure that Deaf and disabled people are able to work on an equal basis to non-disabled people.

But…they are cutting our access so we are losing our jobs and finding it even harder to find new ones.

We want to work and have careers but the Government won’t let us.

When

Saturday 26 September 2015

Meet at 12.00pm 

March begins at 1.00pm, marching to Downing Street to deliver petition.

Where

Old Palace Yard, Westminster, SW1A 0AA

Stop Changes march – poster and web flyer available! 

The excellent Stop Changes 2 Access to Work campaign goes from strength to strength. You MUST join the march on Saturday 26th September.

STOP CHANGES TO ACCESS TO WORK

You may have seen our amazing flyer, created by the wonderful David Ziggy Greene who is Private Eye’s resident cartoonist. Please feel free to circulate this.

Our “March with us” page has a poster version for you to download and print and another smaller version for use on the web.

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