#ScraptheFramework

On this campaign page you can:

scrap the framework logo

What is the #ScraptheFramework Campaign?

The National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI), a branch of Unite, launched the campaign in February 2015. The campaign is a response to the national framework for interpreting and translation services which users, interpreters and translators oppose.

There are currently three main national frameworks which we are aware of, these are:

Crown Commercial services

MoJ

NHS Shared Business Services.

 

CCS – Crown Commercial Services:

Awarded to: Clarion, The Language Shop, Sign Solutions, Language Empire, thebigword, Prestige Network, DA Languages.
Commences: 22nd April 2016
Ends: 21st April 2020
Contract Value: £140-250 million.

This is a Pan Government Collaborative Framework Agreement for use by UK public sector bodies, which includes Central Government Departments and their Arm’s Length Bodies and Agencies, Non Departmental Public Bodies, NHS Bodies and Local Authorities. The call offs for this framework have already started.

Our main concerns are:

  • A reduced amount of choice and control for Deaf people
  • Poorer administration: where large agencies subcontract to smaller agencies, mistakes and wastage are more likely in the booking of professionals
  • Poorer accountability – it is more difficult for deaf people to complain about poor services
  • Downward pressure on interpreters fees and terms and conditions to an unsustainable level
  • Inefficient use of public funds on administration rather than access
  • Large scale privatisation further puts at risk the ability for smaller agencies with a good local knowledge and relationships to continue
  • Despite a regional structure, none of the suppliers are local agencies

You can read our open letter that was sent to France Maude concerning the CCS Framework Agreement.

MoJ – Ministry of Justice:

Awarded to: Clarion
Commences: 31st October 2016
Ends: 30th October 2023 (maximum 7 year term, anticipated term 4 years with option to
extend for two further periods of 1 year each and further year which can be exercised).
Contract Value: £100-350 million

To date (according to information received from PI4J) in addition to courts using this framework, the following police forces in East Anglia are considering using the MoJ contract:

Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire, Essex, Hertfordshire, Norfolk and Suffolk.

Our main concerns are:

  • Experienced court and police interpreters are being lost due to unsustainable fees being offered
  • Lack of independent monitoring of standards
  • Inexperienced interpreters being used
  • A monopoly by one agency
  • Inefficient use of public funds on administration rather than access
  • Poorer accountability – it is more difficult for deaf people to complain about poor services
  • Safeguarding risks – due to mistakes being made and lack of monitoring
  • Lack of transparency – there is no means to access number of complaints/concerns
  • Training – the training being offered does not require a standard of competence by those expressing an interest

 

NHS SBS – NHS Shared Business Services:

Awarded to: various agencies.
Commences: Anticipated 1st November 2016.
Ends: 31st October 2018 (with the option to extend for a further 2 x 12 months).

Our main concerns are:

  • Inexperienced interpreters being used – an arbitrary 25 hours experience in health care setting is given in the specification document
  • Inefficient use of public funds on administration rather than access
  • Poorer accountability – it is more difficult for deaf people to complain about poor services
  • Safeguarding risks – due to mistakes being made and lack of monitoring
  • Lack of transparency – there is no means to access number of complaints/concerns
  • Downward pressure on interpreters fees and terms and conditions to an unsustainable level

NUBSLI’s response

NUBSLI wish to make it clear that BSL/English Interpreters are not prepared to jeopardise the sustainability of their profession by accepting the diminished fees, and terms and conditions set out in these frameworks. These are not fitting for a workforce of extensively trained and qualified freelancers, and clearly go against market rates falling short of the industry standard.Government are regrettably overlooking the counsel of the profession.

We have already seen the boycott of one NHS contract by interpreters in the South West. Interpreters are increasingly prepared to take a similar position with other contracts which do not meet our basic rates of pay and terms. We will be continuing to campaign against these frameworks and will work with individual commissioners wherever possible. We have also seen one agency – Pearl Linguistics – go into liquidation.

The overarching issues with each of the above frameworks are:

  • it is not robust or fit for purpose
  • safeguarding is not guaranteed
  • standards of access will fall
  • there is no choice or control for users
  • it will be damaging to SMEs (small and medium sized businesses), creating a monopoly
  • it does not allow for equality of access if under-qualified personnel are used
  • organisations advising the government are potential suppliers and have commercial interests
  • it is not cost effective or will save taxpayers money