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Departmental Translation Services

Work and Pensions written question – answered on 5th March 2008.

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Photo of Roger Gale Roger Gale Conservative, North Thanet

To ask the Secretary of State for Work and Pensions what proportion of his Department's translation and interpreting work is outsourced through framework agreements with commercial providers; and if he will make a statement.

Photo of Anne McGuire Anne McGuire The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Work and Pensions

Under the Race Relations Amendment Act (2000) and the Disability Discrimination Act (1995), the Department has a responsibility to make appropriate provision to communicate with customers who do not speak English or Welsh, or who are deaf or hard-of-hearing, or who provide the Department, at our request, with legal or official documents written in a foreign language.

The Department for Work and Pensions provides a national range of translation and interpreting services across all of its agencies that include, but are not limited to, the following:

Use of multi-lingual staff, who are willing and able to interpret or to undertake an interview in a foreign language

Face-to-face individual interpreters and signers for local office customers

English to Welsh translation for documentation which is partly done by the small in-house Welsh Language Unit and the remainder by external providers

Ethnic Translation Services of a large number of written documents in a wide range of languages

Written English and Welsh to Braille translation and Braille to English and Welsh translation

Formatting of printed documents into easy-read format

Telephone interpreting service (multi-lingual)

In order to deliver these services on a national basis the Department for Work and Pensions has established a number of framework agreements via full open tender processes with a number of external providers.

All of the above services are outsourced except for a small number of multi-lingual staff who offer their services on an as required basis within their local office.

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