Home Office drops plans to cut interpreters’ pay

By NUBSLI | Published on 17 January 2016

Last updated on January 25th, 2016 at 1:21 pm

pi4j logoCommon sense prevails in Home Office interpreters dispute.

NUBSLI is a member of the Professional Interpreters For Justice (PI4J) campaign – an umbrella group that unites ten professional interpreting organisations and represents 2,350 registered public service interpreters – and has been involved in opposing the proposed cuts to rates of pay for Home Office staff.

Before Christmas, interpreters had threatened to boycott, if these plans were implemented, an action which was widely reported by the Guardian in two separate news pieces on the 20 December and 28 December 2015.

On Friday (15/01/2016), we received notification that the Home Office has suspended their planned cuts to interpreters’ pay pending a review. The information, received by PI4J, read as follows:

“This notification is to advise you that following further internal discussions, the decision has been taken to adjourn the planned rate change at this time with a view to commissioning a fundamental review of Interpreter Services, including the Interpreter Rates of Pay within the scope of the review. Consequently, current Home Office Interpreter Rates of Pay remain in effect until further notice”.

The news of this has once again been reported in the Guardian and includes a statement from PI4J’s spokesperson, Andy Murray, who is also NUBSLI’s Regional Officer.

Changes to BSL/English interpreters’ rates of pay

The success of this campaign shows the strength there is in standing together and has renewed NUBSLI’s commitment to challenging any imposed changes to our terms and conditions and rates of pay through our #ScrapTheFramework campaign. This campaign has managed to delay the tender process by over a year, close several loop holes around standards and see the code of conduct extended to include agencies. Our open letter attracted over 1,000 signatures and included many high profile names.

We are also continuing to challenge poor rates and urging agencies to support interpreters by supporting our #FeesFightback campaign. We are encouraging interpreters and supporters to sign our open letter to agencies.

We hope that the Crown Commercial Service (CCS) will recognise the need to establish fair and appropriate language provision contracts in order to avoid risking a similar situation and potential disruption to BSL/English interpreting provision. Hopefully the common sense that appears to have been exercised by the Home Office will be extended to include other Government departments.