Public Service Interpreting back in the news following the award of the new MoJ contract

Public Service Interpreters (PSIs) provide a highly specialised service across the public sector to facilitate access to and use of the justice system, local government and health services for people whose first language is not English.

In doing so, expert levels of linguistic and technical skills are required which professional interpreters develop through study, experiential practice and focussed learning.

PSIs work alongside medical and legal professionals who are trained, accredited and in many cases regulated. We can, and should, expect the same level of recognition for our PSIs as they provide essential communication channels for speakers of other languages to the UK's legal and health care systems.

The largest user of public service interpreters in the legal sector is the Ministry of Justice which runs an outsourced model of delivery for court interpreting services. This follows the National Agreement which previously governed the use of interpreters in public service. The contract for delivery of the service has just been awarded to, and will be monitored for quality assurance by The Language Shop.

The Chartered Institute of Linguists (CIOL) believes in the use of appropriately qualified interpreters for these critical roles. The Diploma in Public Service Interpreting, offered by the IoL Educational Trust, CIOL’s associated charity and Awarding Organisation, has long provided a distinctive and rigorous qualification for public services; with a track record of 30 years it is regarded across the public services as the foremost qualification in the sector.

With a growing public requirement, CIOL is committed to increasing the pool of qualified interpreters. Through its new membership model, CIOL is able to encourage and support newcomers to the profession, providing continuing development and qualification opportunities. For suitably qualified and experienced practitioners, CIOL membership provides a route to Chartership which is publicly accepted as a mark of professional competency.

“We fully understand the concerns of interpreters, and are pleased there is a quality assurance role being carried out by The Language Shop. CIOL will be carefully monitoring the situation as the contract rolls out. We look forward to working with, supporting, developing and accrediting public service interpreters for many years to come,” said Ann Carlisle, Chief Executive, CIOL.

Further information:
Deborah Butler
Communications and Marketing Manager
+44 (0)20 7940 3105