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The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has exposed the full failings of the Ministry of Justice’s contract for court interpreters, branding it ‘an object lesson in how not to contract out a public service’. A report published today details the flaws in the procurement process and operation of the contract awarded to Applied Language Solutions (Applied) in August 2011 for the provision of court interpreters across England and Wales. The ministry signed a five-year deal with Applied, worth around £42m a year. It expected to save around £18m a year in interpretation services. But after the contract began, Applied was unable to provide a sufficient number of interpreters to fulfil the need, which lead to delays and adjournments in courts. The company was initially only able to meet 58% of bookings against a target of 98%. Six months into the contract it was still failing to meet its target fulfilling 89% of jobs. The news of the chaos created was broken by the Gazette in February. Despite the poor performance, the MoJ levied a financial penalty on Applied, which was bought by Capita in December 2011, of £2,200, a sum that PAC chair Margaret Hodge described as ‘risible’. The report followed an inquiry by the committee into the contract, during which it heard evidence from MoJ, Capita and the Association of Police and Court Interpreters. Its damning findings catalogue the failings of the MoJ, which it says ‘was not an intelligent customer’ in procuring language services, despite the risks posed to the administration of justice and to the ministry’s reputation. Among the criticisms, the committee says that the ministry started the process ‘without basic management information on language services’, including the cost of interpreters or what languages were required in which locations and at what notice. It failed to undertake proper due diligence on Applied’s winning bid, and did not heed financial and other advice that Applied was too small a company to be able to deliver the contract. The contract did not include a strong enough incentive for Applied to meet the requirements of the contract right from the start. The committee criticises the ministry for ignoring strong opposition to the contract from the interpreter community, many of whom refused to work for Applied, and suggests that some of the problems could have reduced had greater weight been given to their views. When the contract went live, Applied had only 280 interpreters available to work, compared to the 1,200 that the MoJ estimated were required, and as a result it used interpreters who had not been properly assessed as required by the contract. The report criticises the ministry for not conducing a proper pilot or a phased roll-out of the contract to ensure smooth implementation. Although Applied is now fulfilling more bookings, the committee says it is still struggling to fulfil all of them. It says that the ministry cannot be sure that all interpreters working under the contract have the required skills, experience and character partly because it is not yet inspecting Applied, as it has the right to do under the contract. The report says: ‘Too many courts are having to find their own interpreters, which means that the purpose of the policy, to provide one centralised system, has not been met.’ Commenting, Hodge said: ‘Interpretation services are vital for ensuring fair access to justice. Yet when the MoJ set out to establish a new centralised system for supplying interpreters to the justice system, almost everything that could go wrong did go wrong.’ She said the ministry awarded a contract to a company that was ‘clearly incapable’ of delivering it and had ‘no hope’ of recruiting enough qualified interpreters in time to start the service. ‘The result was total chaos. Court officials have had to scramble to find qualified interpreters at short notice; there has been a sharp rise in delayed, postponed and abandoned trials; individuals have been kept on remand solely because no interpreter was available; and the quality of interpreters has at times been appalling,’ said Hodge. ‘Despite this, the ministry has only penalised the supplier a risible £2,200, she said, and added: ‘This is an object lesson in how not to contract out a public service.’ Responding to the report, justice minister Helen Grant said: ‘The ministry had strong reasons to change the old interpreter booking system, which the National Audit Office acknowledged was inadequate in several respects and which the PAC accepts was administratively inefficient. ‘We have now seen a major improvement in performance, complaints have fallen dramatically and we are continuing to push for further action. We remain confident the contract will make the expected saving of £15m a year for the MoJ.’ The full report can be read on the committee’s website.
LOWER exhaust emissions and quieter operation are among the benefits Austrian Federal Railways expects from two fleets of diesel locomotives now under construction. Both are four-axle designs, Hector a centre-cab unit for shunting and short workings, and Hercules a twin-cab loco for main line passenger and freight work.Siemens Austria won contracts for both designs on a performance specification, but subcontracted the build of 60 Class 2070 diesel-hydraulic Hector units to Vossloh Schienenfahrzeugtechnik in Kiel, Germany, which holds an option for 90 more. An initial build of 40 Class 2016 Hercules units with electric transmission is under construction by Siemens subsidiary Krauss-Maffei in München, with 30 more locos ordered as an option. A further option would see 80 more locos assembled.Deliveries of Class 2070, forming the first build of Vossloh’s G800 BB design (RG 5.00 p319) are in hand, although commissioning is taking longer than expected. The B-B units have a diesel engine rated at 738 kW, a starting tractive effort of 233 kN and a maximum speed of 100 km/h. They are fitted for radio remote-controlled shunting.First delivery of Class 2016 is due in January. Power is supplied from an MTU 16V 4000R41 engine rated at 2000 kW, driving a three-phase generator with output to a six-pulse diode bridge that supplies an intermediate DC circuit. This feeds a water-cooled GTO thyristor inverter that provides variable voltage and variable frequency output for the three-phase traction motors, each of which has a continuous rating of 410 kW.A novel design of drive has been developed to reduce unsprung mass with full primary suspension for the motors and the gear housing and other components supported on the drive shaft.Class 2016 is fitted for push-pull working and has a maximum speed of 140 km/h. It has Indusi 160R train control equipment, and train radio equipment that can be used in Austria, Germany and Slovenia.Much attention has been paid to reducing noise emissions, with insulation materials being used to cut noise close to source in the machine room and a silencer fitted to the exhaust. The body sidewalls with glued aluminium panels are also designed to contain noise.CAPTION: Class 2016 units are 19·3m long over buffers and weigh 80 tonnesCAPTION: Delivery to ÖBB of Class 2070 units should soon be running at three a month
Next Game: Full Schedule Roster Preview Lee* 3/28/2015 – 2 p.m. CT Watch Live Live Stats CARROLLTON, Ga. – The West Florida baseball team split its Gulf South Conference doubleheader at No. 28 West Georgia on Saturday, winning the first game by a score of 5-2 and falling in the second game 6-1. With the win in game one the Argonauts put an end to UWG’s 11-game GSC winning streak. UWF is now 16-11 overall and 10-8 in GSC play, and the Wolves finished the series 19-8, 13-5. Game 1: West Florida 5, West Georgia 2Jarrod Petree (Apopka, Fla.) and Reed Bright (Pelham, Ala.) limited West Georgia to two runs in the first game, and Ledarious Clark (Meridian, Miss.) provided the power for UWF in a 5-2 win. Petree got the start and picked up the win to improve to 4-0 on the season. The right-hander gave up two runs, one earned, through five-plus innings. Bright took over in the sixth and pitched four scoreless frames for his second save of the year. Bright allowed just one hit and one walk while striking out three. Clark posted his second multi-home run game of season, smashing his fifth and sixth of the year. The first came in the top of the fifth and was a two-run blast over the right-center field wall, putting the Argos up 2-1. He added a solo shot in the ninth over the left-center field wall, giving UWF an insurance run to go up 5-2. Kyle Hamner (Maitland, Fla.) had a productive day at the plate, hitting 1-for-4 with a sacrifice fly and two RBIs. Nic Strasser (Orlando, Fla.) hit 2-for-3 and also reached base on two walks. “We played a nice game in the first one,” said UWF head coach Mike Jeffcoat. “We got a solid five innings out of Jarrod Petree and then Reed Bright did a great job coming in to hold them. It was obviously a big game for Ledarious Clark. We needed that out of the two and three spots in the order with him and Nic Strasser.” Brandon Goldsmith (2-1) was credited with his first loss of the season for West Georgia, allowing three runs on two hits and five walks in 5.1 innings pitched. Game 2: West Georgia 6, West Florida 1 West Georgia’s Matthew Norton (4-2) held the Argos to one run through six innings to pick up the win for the Wolves in game two. The right-hander scattered six hits and two walks while striking out one. Walker O’Connor (Bedford, Mass.) got the start for the Argos and was credited with the loss (4-3) after allowing five runs, three earned, in 2.1 innings pitched. The Wolves did most of their damage early, scoring two runs in the second and three in the third. The first two were unearned and came home on a single by Drew Eady. UWG then rallied for three more in the next inning to take a 5-0 lead. UWF narrowed the margin in the fifth on an RBI single by Strasser. The freshman hit 2-for-3 in the game and improved his team-leading batting average to .402. That run would be the only one for the Argonauts in the nightcap. “In the second game we went back to what we did in the first game of the series on Friday,” said Jeffcoat. “We couldn’t put together enough hits. They had a couple of big innings and opened it up on us. We had a couple of disappointing losses on the road this weekend. We’ve got to regroup for next week.” The Argonauts will return to Jim Spooner Field on March 28-29 to host Lee University a three-game GSC series. The doubleheader on Saturday, March 28 will start at 2 p.m. and will be the team’s Strike Out Cancer game, as the first 50 fans will receive a free UWF T-shirt at the game. The series finale on Sunday, March 29 will start at 1 p.m. and will feature baseball bingo for the first 200 fans. It will also be a double-point game for Argo Armada members, and Argie’s Kids Club members will be invited to run the bases after the game. For information on all UWF athletics, visit www.GoArgos.com. #ARGOS# West Florida 5, West Georgia 2 (3/21/15 at Carrollton, GA) (Game 1)———————————————————————-West Florida…….. 000 021 011 – 5 7 1 (16-10, 10-7 GSC)West Georgia…….. 000 110 000 – 2 6 0 (18-8, 12-5 GSC)———————————————————————-Pitchers: West Florida – Jarrod Petree; Reed Bright(6) and Kyle Hamner. West Georgia -B. Goldsmith; E. Hunter(6); C. Duttweier(8) and P. Mann.Win-Jarrod Petree(4-0) Save-Reed Bright(2) Loss-B. Goldsmith(2-1) T-2:39 A-239HR UWF – Ledarious Clark 2 (6).Weather: Spring-likeJ. Petree faced 1 batter in the 6th. — West Georgia 6, West Florida 1 (3/21/15 at Carrollton, GA) (Game 2)———————————————————————-West Florida…….. 000 010 0 – 1 7 1 (16-11, 10-8 GSC)West Georgia…….. 023 010 X – 6 9 0 (19-8, 13-5 GSC)———————————————————————-Pitchers: West Florida – Walker O’Connor; Josh McLaney(3); Kevin Peters(5) and Kyle Hamner.West Georgia – M. Norton; T. Gunnin(7) and P. Mann.Win-M. Norton(4-2) Loss-Walker O’Connor(4-3) T-1:52 A-0Weather: Overcast, Mild Print Friendly Version
The Bossier Parish Community College Lady Cavs suffered two one-run losses in the Region XIV softball tournament Sunday and Monday in Lufkin, Texas.After defeating Lamar State-Port Arthur 8-0 Friday, the Lady Cavs fell to San Jacinto-South 1-0 Saturday in the winners’ bracket semifinals.The Lady Cavs suffered another tough defeat, 2-1, to Tyler Junior College Monday in an elimination game.TJC is ranked No. 11 in NJCAA Division I.BPCC finished an outstanding season under second-year head coach Amanda Nordberg-Hamilton 42-13. The Lady Cavs doubled their win total in Nordberg-Hamilton’s first year.BPCC’s softball game against Tyler was tied at 1 through four innings. TJC scored the go-ahead run in the top of the fifth on back-to-back doubles.The Lady Cavs scored their run in the first on back-to-back singles by Chelsea Fagan and Kacey Maines followed by Micah Gray’s double.Gray had two of BPCC’s six hits.BPCC pitcher Elisa Favela, the East Zone co-Player of the Year, allowed five hits in 4 1/3 innings.Shelrika Bryant had three of the Lady Cavs’ hits in the loss to San Jacinto.San Jacinto scored the winning run in the bottom of the final inning on a walk, sacrifice bunt, ground out and single.BPCC had the bases loaded in its half of the seventh, but the Coyotes turned a triple play on a grounder to third.Favela, a freshman from Ewa Beach, Hawaii, allowed just three hits and one walk in 6 2/3 innings. Favela pitched a two-hitter with five strikeouts in the five-inning first-round victory over Lamar State.She also went 3-for-4 with a double and an RBI. Morgan Bullock and Jayleen Lantier both went 2-for-3.Also earning first-team All-East Zone from BPCC were freshman catcher Fagan and freshman infielder Bryant.Second-team selections were sophomore pitcher Ashley Nipper, freshman infielder Galen Brooks, sophomore outfielder Gray and freshman outfielder Raina McKean.— Russell Hedges, [email protected] Expat InsuranceExpat Living in Hong Kong without Health Insurance?Top Expat Insurance|SponsoredSponsoredUndoNews gadgetThis watch takes the whole country by storm! it’s price? Ridiculous!News gadget|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Secret Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unblock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoPerfect-Dating.comAre You Ready to Meet Cool Guys in Tung Chung?Perfect-Dating.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndoTheTopFiveVPNThe Trick Netflix Doesn’t Want You To Know To Unlock RestrictionsTheTopFiveVPN|SponsoredSponsoredUndoCelebsland.com9 Celebrity Before-And-After Plastic Surgery DisastersCelebsland.com|SponsoredSponsoredUndo