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Witnesses

Volume 487: debated on Tuesday 3 February 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what procedures govern the selection and termination of appointments of witness intermediaries. (253006)

Intermediaries come from a range of professional backgrounds including speech and language therapy, psychology, occupational therapy, education and other health care professions. To register as intermediaries they must undergo a rigorous assessment process overseen by the Intermediary Registration Board. They are also required to successfully complete an initial five-day procedural training requirement introducing them to the criminal justice system before being placed on the register.

There is a formal complaints process where the users of the service—the police, prosecutors and defence—can raise a specific complaint about individual intermediaries which is then subject to investigation by a member of the Quality Assurance Board for Intermediaries. The remedies available include the removal of the intermediary from the intermediary register.

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice what methods are used by witness intermediaries to interpret statements by those diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder. (253007)

The methods used by intermediaries to interpret statements by witnesses diagnosed with an autistic spectrum disorder will be determined by the intermediary concerned on a case by case basis in the light of their professional qualifications, training, experience and knowledge. Intermediaries come from a range of professional backgrounds including speech and language therapy, psychology, occupational therapy, education and other health care professions.