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(not satire!)

In one of its mad dashes to hand over public service contracts to any dodgy spiv who wants one – the government decided to put the whole of the British justice system at risk by handing a 300 million contract for all the UK’s legal police and court interpreting work to a Delboy character who was running a firm from his bedroom.

You can read about the sorry saga here:

How Delboy hoodwinked ministers out of £300m

This outsourcing to a private company meant that professional legal interpreters would face drastic cuts in their pay and conditions and – like many workers facing that kind of appalling government bullying –  many of them decided to fight the decision with direct action.

The interpreters decided to completely boycott the contract and to refuse to work for the private company.

The action started way back in August 2011.

And over a year later, an incredible 81% of court interpreters are still boycotting the contract and the company.

In fact, the boycott has been so solid and effective that it has created what the Public Accounts Committee has branded a fiasco of the contract. The Chair of the Criminal Bar Association, Michael Turner QC has also described the government’s handling of the affair as “a con on the tax-payer” and “a con on the victims of crime”.

So hats off to the 81% of court interpreters who are still holding out for fair pay and conditions. Their solid unwavering opposition to being pushed around by government ministers and their overpaid spivs would put many hardened trade unionists to shame.


Links to the Parliamentary reports are here:


More information debunking the Ministry of Justice’s line can be found here:


Here are some other useful links if you want to know more about ALS CAPITA and this latest government omnishambles:

ALS’s Gavin Wheeldon: A Case Study in Cheap Translation
Numerous news stories about problems with ALS
BBC – Court chaos follows interpreter change
The court interpreting fiasco
ALS – lies, damned lies, and statistics
Professional Interpreters’ Alliance
Registered Public Service Interpreters (RPSIs) 

How Delboy hoodwinked ministers out of £300m – UPDATE


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