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Future Arrangements for Language Interpreting and Translation Services



Public Consultation on Future Arrangements for Language Interpreting and Translation Services for Health and Social Care in Northern Ireland

Public consultation starts today to consider the provision of the Health and Social Services Interpreting and Translation services as a regional shared service which would be provided by the Business Services Organisation (BSO) together with a number of recommendations aimed at offering the most effective service to meet the needs of both referrers and users. The consultation will run until Friday 13 December 2013.

Language interpreting and written translation services are required to ensure that those who do not have English as a first or competent second language are able to access health and social care services in Northern Ireland. Currently language interpreting through face to face interpreting is provided through the Belfast Trust with back up face to face interpreting and telephone interpreting contracts through the BSO Procurement and Logistics Service (PaLS). Written translation services are also provided by BSO PaLS.

In January 2012 the Health and Social Care Board initiated a review of the regional provision of interpreting and translation services to determine the most appropriate arrangements for providing the service in the future. The review concluded in June 2013 and identified a number of changes and recommendations that are required to ensure a cost effective and high quality service in the future.

The public consultation document launched today recommends that the Regional Interpreting Service should be provided on a shared service basis by the Business Services Organisation. This would provide an opportunity for a combined regional interpreting and translation service and create a more coherent service.

The consultation also proposes that efforts should be made to reprofile the use of face to face and telephone interpreting potentially increasing telephone interpreting from the current level of 7% to around 50% of all activity. This would enable a more flexible and appropriate service to both referrers and users.

The HSCB is encouraging everyone who may be affected by the decision to have the opportunity to consider the options and respond with their views. The consultation ends at 5.00pm on Friday 13 December 2013.

Following the end of the consultation period, recommendations will be made to the HSC Board for a final decision.

The document: Consultation on Future Arrangements for Language Interpreting and Translation Services in Northern Ireland can be obtained from the HSCB website under the Consultation section: www.hscboard.hscni.net/consult/ Any requests for the document in an alternative format will be considered