An open letter has been sent to Francis Maude MP signed by over 1000 people asking for the national framework agreement for language services, which is currently being drafted, is scrapped.
The letter is signed by a number of MPs, sign language interpreters, and people from a range of deaf and disability organisations.
Here is the letter:
We, the undersigned, are writing to request that the national framework agreement for language services (interpreting and translation) currently being drafted by the Crown Commercial Services is scrapped with immediate effect, as we believe it is not fit for purpose.
The intended outcome of the framework agreement – to save money and ensure quality provision – cannot possibly be achieved.
Deaf people have already endured months of uncertainty and poorly administered services as a result of the ill-informed changes made to Access to Work.
These changes were made with no consultation and demonstrated a clear lack of understanding of the industry or of how interpreters work. Deaf people’s jobs were placed at significant risk.
The issues identified by the Work and Pension Select Committee who held an inquiry into Access to Work can be read here, you will note that viable solutions were offered:
Whilst jobs being placed at risk is a serious issue, the consequences of a framework which covers areas such as health, mental health, social services including child protection and other safeguarding areas could be far worse.
Without qualified interpreters, clinicians and other professionals cannot complete their work safely. The risks to the Deaf community are unimaginable. We could, without exaggeration, be talking about loss of life and liberty.
Following on from the disastrous consequences of changes made to Access to Work provision as well as issues of unqualified people being used as interpreters, the BSL interpreting profession is in a state of decline.
Almost half of all NRCPD registered interpreters responded to a survey by NUBSLI recently. The results showed that 48% of respondents are thinking about leaving the profession. A considerably depleted workforce would, as in any market, drive fees upwards.
To de-professionalise the industry would have a detrimental effect on the Deaf community and set access levels back to those last seen twenty plus years ago.
Given that it takes on average seven years to train a competent interpreter who is safe to practice, the framework could do lasting damage to the Deaf community.
We therefore request that this work ceases and alternative solutions sought with the full consultation of the experts in this sector: the Deaf community and BSL interpreters.
#Scrap The Framework Campaign
Len McCluskey – General Secretary, Unite the Union
Teresa Pearce MP
Jennifer Smith – Chair, National Union of British Sign Language Interpreters (NUBSLI)
Linda Burnip – Co-Founder, Disabled People Against Cuts
Dr Terry Riley OBE – Chair, British Deaf Association (BDA)
Jenny Sealey MBE – CEO/Artistic Director Graeae Theatre Company
Nicky Evans – Stop Changes To Access To Work Campaign
Geraldine O’Halloran – Inclusion London
John McDonnell MP
Ronnie Draper – General Secretary, Bakers’ Food and Allied Workers Union
Grahame Morris MP
Michael Meacher MP
Sir Gerald Kaufman MP
Rosie Cooper MP
Richard Wilson OBE – Graeae Patron
Dame Harriet Walter DBE – Actor/Graeae Patron
Ian Hodson – National President, Bakers’, Food and Allied Workers Union
Jane Aitchison – Joint National Secretary, Unite the Resistance
Mandy Brown – UCU NEC, Branch Secretary Lambeth College
Helen Davies – Branch Chair Barnet UNISON and Social Worker
Sean Vernell – UCU
Roger Lewis – Lambeth Unison Equalities Officer (PC)
Tim O’Dell – UNISON
Mark Dunk – Unite the Resistance
Lesley Weatherson – Association of Lipspeakers
Vikki Bridson-Vice – Steering Committee, Visual Language Professionals
Alison Bryan – Chair, Deaf Access Cymru
Georgina Sullivan – Association of Notetaking Professionals
Julia Jacobie – AVSTTR
Eileen R. Ford and Amelia Naranjo – National Union of Professional Interpreters and Translators (NUPIT)
Debbie Jolly – Co-Founder, Disabled People Against Cuts
Paula Peters – Chair, Bromley Disabled People against Cuts
Ellen Clifford – Lewisham Disabled People Against Cuts
Bob Ellard – National Steering Committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Roger Lewis, National Steering Committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Anita Bellows – National Steering committee, Disabled People Against Cuts
Peter Llewellyn-Jones Programme Director, postgraduate programmes in Interpreting and Translation Studies
Wes Mehaffy BSL/
Martin Fox-Roberts BSL/English Interpreter
Jennifer Smith BSL/
Mariella Reina BSL/
Roma Parrick BSL/
Maria Munro BSL/
Gloria Ogborn BSL/
Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Ali Hetherington BSL/
BSL and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Deafblind Manual Interpreter
Clinical Supervisor MBACP SEN Accredited
Alison Gilchrist BSL/
Jennifer Dodds BSL/
English Interpreter (Deaf)
Gráinne Sheehan BSL/English Interpreter and Deafblind Manual Interpreter
James Banks BSL/
Simon Bristoll BSL/
Louise Bodycombe BSL/English Interpreter
Ivan Osborne BSL/
Veronica Nanson BSL/English Interpreter
Claire Dodds BSL/
Elizabeth Mercer BSL/
Court interpreter (DPSI)
Dr Zuzana Windle Legal interpreter
Hannah Watson BSL/
Dr Dimitra Kalantzi Translator (AITI)
Philippe Muriel (MCIL) French Interpreter (DPSI) & Translator (Dip Trans) – Interpreter Trainer
Elvire Roberts BSL/
Legal and commercial French Interpreter
Ségolène Neilson Legal (DPSI), medical and business interpreter and translator
Legal (DPSI) Interpreter
Parvin Lackschewitz-Martin Legal interpreter NRPSI (BA Honours in languages)
Mihaela Patrascu Legal interpreter DPSI DPI RPSI MCIL
Trainee BSL/English Interpreter
Interpreter (NRPSI) and translator
Conference and Public Service Interpreter/translator
Yasemin Kafali Legal interpreter (NRPSI)
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