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Courts: Interpreters

Volume 504: debated on Monday 18 January 2010

To ask the Secretary of State for Justice with reference to the answer of 12 November 2009, Official Report, column 842W, on interpreters: finance, for what reasons he has not yet written to the hon. Member for West Chelmsford with the information he undertook to provide by Christmas 2009. (310642)

I apologise for the delay. However, during the collation of the information requested, we identified that inconsistent answers had been given by my hon. Friend the Minister of State for Justice (Maria Eagle) to the hon. Member for Wycombe (Mr. Goodman) on 9 May 2008, Official Report, columns 1270- 71W and the hon. Member for Romsey (Sandra Gidley) on 2 June 2008, Official Report, columns 640-41W and by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State for Justice and Lord Chancellor (Mr. Straw) to the hon. and learned Member for Beaconsfield (Mr. Grieve) on 16 March 2009, Official Report, columns 955-56W and the hon. Member for Ashford (Damian Green) on 20 April 2009, Official Report, column 337W, on the subject of interpreters expenditure. This necessitated an investigation which has now concluded. The information requested is provided in the following table and covers all the information the Ministry of Justice holds on interpreters expenditure. I will also write to the hon. Members who received incomplete information with a full response as soon as possible.

Expenditure on interpreters in England and Wales by the Department and its agencies

The expenditure for financial years 2007-08 and 2008-09

To nearest £000

2008-09

2007-08

Ministry of Justice HQ

26

19

HM Courts Service (HMCS)

638

704

HMCS Crown Courts paid from Central Fund Budget

4,503

4,034

Tribunals Service

5,283

6,126

Office of the Public Guardian

40

40

National Offenders Management Service1

966

868

Total

11,456

11,791

1 This figure includes translation costs as well as interpretation costs. The amounts are not separately recorded and can only be disaggregated at disproportionate costs.

The information in the table excludes the following expenditure:

It is not possible to separately identify expenditure on interpreters by magistrates courts from other magistrates costs financed from the Central Fund Budget without incurring the disproportionate cost of examining every transaction, the supporting records for which are held locally. Sample exercises have been undertaken in the past to estimate the proportion of magistrates expenditure that relates to interpreters but they have yielded inconsistent results.

The NOMS figure excludes expenditure by the National Probation Service which is held locally by 42 probation boards and trusts who use separate and different accounting systems. Information could only be determined at disproportionate cost through examination of local records.

Expenditure on interpreters in Essex by the Department and its agencies

Expenditure by Her Majesty's Courts Service for interpreters in Crown courts in the Essex region in 2008-09 was £101,941. The comparable figure for 2007-08 cannot be separately identified from the Central Fund payment records which did not include regional identifiers. Information for other parts of the Department is not recorded on a regional basis and could be provided only at disproportionate cost.

Suspects, charged individuals and victims

Her Majesty's Courts Service meets interpreters' costs for victims, which are provided above. The police meet interpreters' costs for suspects and charged individuals. Police costs are funded by the Home Office.