MoJ interpreting contract with Applied Language Solutions

Peter Shortall made this Freedom of Information request to Ministry of Justice

This request has been closed to new correspondence. Contact us if you think it should be reopened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Ministry of Justice,

I would like to request the following information concerning the interpreting service agreement under which Applied Language Solutions has been providing interpreting services to the Ministry of Justice:

1. If the Ministry of Justice decides to cancel/terminate its agreement with Applied Language Solutions, will any form of cancellation penalty (or compensation, or similar) have to be paid to ALS or any other company or individual, and if so, how much money must be paid in order to terminate the interpreting arrangement and to whom?

2. When did the Ministry of Justice first learn of the rates that Applied Language Solutions planned to pay interpreters working in connection with the agreement?

3. What steps did the Ministry of Justice take in seeking to ensure that those rates would be sufficient to attract and retain linguists with the appropriate qualifications and experience, and whom did it consult to that end?

Yours faithfully,
Peter Shortall

Dear Ministry of Justice,

A response to my request is now overdue. Please could you acknowledge this reminder and tell me when my request will be answered?

Yours faithfully,

Peter Shortall

Dear Ministry of Justice,

Please pass this on to the person who conducts Freedom of Information reviews.

I am writing to request an internal review of Ministry of Justice's handling of my FOI request 'MoJ interpreting contract with Applied Language Solutions'.

The statutory time-limit for resolving the request has been exceeded by a very considerable margin, as the request has been ignored for six months now.

A full history of my FOI request and all correspondence is available on the Internet at this address:

Yours faithfully,

Peter Shortall

M Lee left an annotation ()

After ten months, Mr Shortall finally received a reply from the MoJ, which is published here:

Peter Shortall left an annotation ()

On 17 October 2012 I received a reply to my request which was sent privately by email. For the benefit of those who were following my request, I have copied the salient parts of the reply below:

Our Ref: FOI 78247

17 October 2012

Dear Mr Shortall,

Freedom of Information Request

The Information Commissioner’s Office forwarded a request from you on 18th
September, in which you asked for the following information from the Ministry of
Justice (MoJ):

[Text of my original request - PS]

We note that the original request does not appear to have been received by the MoJ
in February 2012. We are answering your request now that we have been made
aware of it.

Part one of your request has been handled under the Freedom of Information Act
2000 (FOIA).

I can confirm that the department holds some of the information that you have asked
for, but in this case we will not be providing it to you as it is exempt from disclosure.

We are not obliged to provide information if this is reasonably accessible to you by
other means (section 21 of the Act). The terms of this exemption in the Freedom of
Information Act mean that we do not have to consider whether or not it would be in
the public interest for you to have the information.
You can find out more about Section 21 by reading the extract from the Act and
some guidance points we consider when applying this exemption, attached at the
end of this letter.

You can also find more information by reading the full text of the Act, available at and further guidance
A copy of the Framework may be viewed on the Contracts finder website at the link

Details of the sum(s) payable if the MoJ terminates the contract with ALS are not
held. This is because the amount payable would depend on the circumstances in
which the contract was ended. You may be interested to know that the Framework
Agreement states that, should early termination of the contract occur, the MoJ will
take all reasonable steps to mitigate any costs that result.

The second and third parts of your request do not relate to recorded information held
by the MoJ, and they have been dealt with outside the terms of the FOIA.

Terms and conditions are a matter between the supplier and the individual
interpreter. Information on rates of pay were given by the supplier as part of the bid
process, but it is for the supplier to determine if they are appropriate. Some rates
have changed since the Framework Agreement was signed, but we cannot comment
on these further. No consultation was carried out on this specific point, since it is for
the supplier to determine, although a full consultation was carried out by the MoJ in
2011 on the proposals for the Framework Agreement, and other engagement took
place throughout the procurement process and since the contract was signed.

You have the right to appeal our decision if you think it is incorrect. Details can be
found in the ‘How to Appeal’ section attached at the end of this letter.

Disclosure Log

You can also view information that the Ministry of Justice has disclosed in response
to previous Freedom of Information requests. Responses are anonymised and
published on our on-line disclosure log which can be found on the MoJ website:

The published information is categorised by subject area and in alphabetical order.

Yours sincerely

Margaret Haig