HC Deb 25 February 2002 vol 380 cc761-2W
Mr. McNamara

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland how many(a) in-house and(b) external (b) foreign companies; and what are the names of the companies falling within category (a). [33672]

Dr. John Reid

The following table relates to contracts exceeding £50,000.

(i) Irish-English and (ii) other language translators and interpreters have been employed by criminal justice agencies in the most recent year for which records are available; how many hours of work were contracted externally and at what cost; and what steps he is taking to produce the common list of interpreters recommended by the Criminal Justice Review. [29949]

Mr. Browne

None of the criminal justice agencies employ in-house interpreters or translators.

Provision of translators and interpretation for the police was contracted to a private agency on 1 February 2001. Records show that since 1 February:

  • Four Irish-English translators have been used;
  • 25 interpreters were used for other languages;
  • Approximately 1,271 hours of work has been contracted out;
  • Costs stand at £48,300.

In respect of the Northern Ireland courts service, specific costs are not available. Records show that from March 2001 requests have been made on 14 occasions for translations and, since April 2001, 24 requests have been made for the provision of interpreters. None of these have involved Irish.

Figures provided by the Northern Ireland prison service indicate that 140 minutes of work at a cost of £4,079.68 was contracted externally in the financial year 2000–01. A payment of £300 was also made to a Mandarin interpreter. In addition existing staff are used to provide Irish/English translations when necessary.

The development of a common list of interpreters is being considered jointly by the agencies.