Baroness Coussins Portrait

Baroness Coussins

Crossbench - Life peer

2 APPG memberships (as of 6 Oct 2021)
Modern Languages, United Nations
3 Former APPG memberships
British Council, Jazz Appreciation, Peru
International Relations and Defence Committee
25th May 2016 - 1st Jul 2019
EU External Affairs Sub-Committee
12th Jun 2015 - 12th May 2016
Information Committee (Lords)
14th Nov 2007 - 1st May 2012


There are no upcoming events identified
Division Votes
Tuesday 19th October 2021
Telecommunications (Security) Bill
voted Aye
One of 16 Crossbench Aye votes vs 18 Crossbench No votes
Tally: Ayes - 185 Noes - 187
Speeches
Wednesday 20th October 2021
COVID-19 Pandemic in Latin America

Before the noble Lord sits down, will he undertake to write to me with answers to the few questions I …

Written Answers
Wednesday 27th October 2021
Interpreters: Courts and Tribunals
To ask Her Majesty's Government how often each year between 2017 and 2020 interpreters were used in courts or tribunals …
Early Day Motions
None available
Bills
None available
Tweets
None available
MP Financial Interests
None available

Division Voting information

During the current Parliamentary Session, Baroness Coussins has voted in 127 divisions, and never against the majority of their Party.
View All Baroness Coussins Division Votes

Debates during the 2019 Parliament

Speeches made during Parliamentary debates are recorded in Hansard. For ease of browsing we have grouped debates into individual, departmental and legislative categories.

Sparring Partners
Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon (Conservative)
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
(25 debate interactions)
Baroness Berridge (Conservative)
(23 debate interactions)
Baroness Williams of Trafford (Conservative)
Minister of State (Home Office)
(14 debate interactions)
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Department Debates
Department for Education
(17 debate contributions)
Home Office
(12 debate contributions)
Ministry of Defence
(10 debate contributions)
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View all Baroness Coussins's debates

Commons initiatives

These initiatives were driven by Baroness Coussins, and are more likely to reflect personal policy preferences.

MPs who are act as Ministers or Shadow Ministers are generally restricted from performing Commons initiatives other than Urgent Questions.


Baroness Coussins has not been granted any Urgent Questions

Baroness Coussins has not been granted any Adjournment Debates

Baroness Coussins has not introduced any legislation before Parliament

Baroness Coussins has not co-sponsored any Bills in the current parliamentary sitting


77 Written Questions in the current parliament

(View all written questions)
Written Questions can be tabled by MPs and Lords to request specific information information on the work, policy and activities of a Government Department
1 Other Department Questions
3rd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, since the publication of their report Quarterly Report on progress to address COVID-19 health inequalities on 22 October 2020, what (1) actions have been taken, and (2) progress has been made, in relation to implementing Recommendation 12 of that report, regarding public health advice in languages other than English.

The Government has made significant progress in implementing Recommendation 12 and addressing COVID-19 health inequalities. This includes regularly translating public health communications into other languages and formats, including Easy Read, and working with local authorities to translate assets according to local need. Translated materials are routinely shared in editable formats so they can be useful by as wide an audience as possible.

The Minister for Equalities will shortly be publishing her second quarterly progress report to the Prime Minister and the Health Secretary, which will include a more detailed update against this and the other recommendations from her report of 22 October.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what funding they have provided to climate change initiatives in the region of Chocó in Colombia; and which projects they are supporting in that region.

Her Majesty's Government provides official development assistance (ODA) to climate change initiatives in the region of Chocó in Colombia through two programmes delivered through the UK’s International Climate Finance (ICF), UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) and Partnerships for Forests (P4F). These projects aim to tackle deforestation in Colombia by fostering sustainable alternative livelihoods and the development of the bioeconomy in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

UK PACT is providing over £700,000 grant funding to a ‘Community-Based Sustainable Tourism Enhancing Project’ which supports activity in 38 municipalities in Colombia including the Choco region. The project aims to build the capacity for commercialising sustainable tourism opportunities, in collaboration with the local communities, by using enhanced technological approach and designing a novel scientific-based tourism business model.

P4F is providing over £1.5 million in grant funding to two projects which have activities in the Choco region: ‘Colombia Pacific Acai’ and ‘Sustainable Heart of Palm’. P4F supports these innovative projects to grow and secure new private investment by improving the business models and building the capabilities of local actors across the value chain.

In addition, the Newton-Caldas Fund, through UKRI and the British Council, has funded activity related to biodiversity in the Chocó region as part of the Colombia Bio programme. Colombia Bio aims to protect the unique biodiversity of Colombia through improving our understanding of ecosystems, their response to environmental- including climate change, and support sustainable and socially inclusive development. Activities include UK funding of over £300,000 to a project improving data on the Atrato River.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they plan to provide, or have provided, to the implementation of the Environmental Action Plan for Choco developed in response to the Colombian Court’s ruling judgment T-622.

Her Majesty's Government has not directly provided nor currently plans to provide support to the implementation of the Environmental Action Plan for Chocó developed in response to the Colombian Court’s ruling judgement T-622.

Officials from BEIS’ International Climate Finance (ICF) team met with some of the appointed ‘Guardians of the Atratos’ in late 2019, to understand the context of the Colombian court’s ruling judgement T-6222 and determine the broader impact on programme implementation in Colombia.

Through the FCO’s Conflict Stability and Security Fund (CSSF), HMG supports the implementation of the peace accords between the Government of Colombia and the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia), including in Chocó Department. Included in this support is assistance to help deliver Chocó’s rural development plan (PDET), which was designed in accord with the local population and specifically mentions the T-6222 ruling judgement.

Additionally, UK Research and Innovation, via the HMG ODA Newton-Caldas Fund, has funded a project in which an international consortium of researchers is working to support the communities along the Atrato River through improving scientific data on the state of the river. This has included building capacity amongst riverine communities enabling them to carry out environmental monitoring activity, and making data accessible to communities, advocacy groups, and policy makers.

Lord Callanan
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on (1) language learning in UK schools, and (2) the teaching of English in schools overseas, of the removal from the tiered visa regime for unpaid student internships.

We continue to welcome talented individuals from overseas to teach or train to teach in the UK, including through the Language Assistants Programme (LAP). The programme is owned by the Department for Education and delivered by the British Council.

Over 150 UK institutions hosted language assistants last year. Annual evaluation reported that language assistants made a significant impact on attainment and learning outcomes for pupils, including improved exam grades, improved cultural awareness, improved standards in listening and speaking, and improved confidence in using the language.

In addition, as part of the LAP, around 2,500 UK students are able travel to 15 destinations to support the teaching of English, through paid teaching placements around the world. UK students rated their experience positively, with improved teaching and language skills.

The Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme also provides individuals with opportunities to come to the UK for a short time for work experience, training, to complete an Overseas Government Language Programme, and for research or a fellowship. Students are also permitted to undertake a work placement as part of a course on the student route, provided the work placement is an integrated and assessed part of the course of study. The Appendix GAE lists all the schemes available and more information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-government-authorised-exchange-schemes.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the value to language learning in secondary schools of foreign language classroom assistants.

We continue to welcome talented individuals from overseas to teach or train to teach in the UK, including through the Language Assistants Programme (LAP). The programme is owned by the Department for Education and delivered by the British Council.

Over 150 UK institutions hosted language assistants last year. Annual evaluation reported that language assistants made a significant impact on attainment and learning outcomes for pupils, including improved exam grades, improved cultural awareness, improved standards in listening and speaking, and improved confidence in using the language.

In addition, as part of the LAP, around 2,500 UK students are able travel to 15 destinations to support the teaching of English, through paid teaching placements around the world. UK students rated their experience positively, with improved teaching and language skills.

The Government Authorised Exchange (GAE) scheme also provides individuals with opportunities to come to the UK for a short time for work experience, training, to complete an Overseas Government Language Programme, and for research or a fellowship. Students are also permitted to undertake a work placement as part of a course on the student route, provided the work placement is an integrated and assessed part of the course of study. The Appendix GAE lists all the schemes available and more information is available here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-government-authorised-exchange-schemes.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the submission to the consultation on reforms to modern language GCSEs from the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Languages will be recorded as one response, or reflect its endorsement by almost 100 organisations and 1,000 individuals.

The government intends to publish its response to the consultation before the end of this year.

The response of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Language (APPGML) to the government’s consultation on the revised GCSE modern foreign language subject content review will be recorded as one response. Individuals and organisations are always advised to respond directly to government consultations, rather than to be signatories of independent campaigns.

In addition, we know that a number of organisations and individuals who endorsed the APPGML statement also responded to the government consultation separately. By doing so, the government is able to consider responses systematically, including the responses of individuals and organisations to the specific questions in the consultation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish the responses to the consultation on proposed reforms to modern language GCSEs.

The government intends to publish its response to the consultation before the end of this year.

The response of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Language (APPGML) to the government’s consultation on the revised GCSE modern foreign language subject content review will be recorded as one response. Individuals and organisations are always advised to respond directly to government consultations, rather than to be signatories of independent campaigns.

In addition, we know that a number of organisations and individuals who endorsed the APPGML statement also responded to the government consultation separately. By doing so, the government is able to consider responses systematically, including the responses of individuals and organisations to the specific questions in the consultation.

Baroness Barran
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Education)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the cost per annum of restoring the Language Teacher Training Scholarships.

The Department reviews the bursaries and scholarships offered for initial teacher training (ITT) before the start of each annual recruitment cycle. Factors such as historic recruitment, forecast economic conditions, and teacher supply need are considered. Being able to change the financial incentives offered for ITT provides flexibility in responding to the need to attract new teachers and ensures money is spent where it is needed most.

The financial incentives for trainee teachers starting ITT in the academic year 2022/23 will be announced this autumn. In advance of this, the Department will consider the need and potential impact of incentives for Modern Foreign Languages (MFL) alongside the offer for all other subjects.

It is not possible to say what the cost of increasing the MFL bursary or restoring the MFL scholarship would be in future, as this is dependent on the number of eligible trainee teachers that are recruited. The Department publishes ITT census data each year showing the numbers of trainee teachers recruited, from which we can estimate the cost per annum. The published 2019/20 ITT census data shows approximately 1,145 MFL trainees were eligible for either a £26,000 bursary or £28,000 scholarship[1][2][3].

[1] Includes postgraduate MFL trainees with 1st, 2:1 and 2:2 degree classes only from the following routes only: Higher Education Institution, School Centred ITT and School Direct (fee-funded). Total excludes trainees whose degree classes are unknown.

[2] It is possible that some of these trainees may have been ineligible for a bursary or scholarship because they were in fact awarded a degree classification lower than a 2:2.

[3] A small minority of these trainees will also have been ineligible for a bursary or scholarship because they were ineligible for student finance.

12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what was the cost in each of the five years leading up to the UK's departure from the EU of the UK’s participation in the Erasmus and Erasmus+ programmes.

While the UK was a member state of the EU, we did not make seperate contributions to individual EU programmes such as Erasmus+, but instead made an overall contribution to the EU budget which was then used to fund those programmes. It is therefore not possible to calculate a figure for the UK government’s direct contributions to Erasmus+.

However, an indicative UK contribution figure can be obtained by taking the total Erasmus+ payments made in each year and applying to it the UK’s funding share of the overall EU budget in that year.

Table 1 gives an indicative estimate of the UK’s Erasmus+ contributions between 2015 and 2019. The UK contributions estimate taken from table 1 in the attachment is included below.

Under Erasmus+, the UK already contributed significantly more than we got out in the form of receipts, and the only terms of offer for continued participation would have required an annual gross contribution of £600 million, or a net contribution in the region of £2 billion over the course of the programme.

The Turing Scheme goes further than Erasmus+ by being truly global. It also goes further in enabling more disadvantaged students to benefit from the opportunities of studying abroad, including by providing extra funding for disadvantaged students, and paying for extra costs for them, including travel costs.

Table 1: UK Indicative Erasmus+ contributions in millions of pounds

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

UK Indicative Erasmus+ contributions in millions of pounds

209

201

224

241

296

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the cost per annum of the Advanced Maths Premium scheme.

The Advanced Maths Premium was first paid in the 2019-20 academic year, when we allocated £10,630,200 to providers of 16-19 education. In the 2020-21 academic year, we allocated £14,059,800 of funding through the Advanced Maths Premium.

This information is available from 16-19 published allocations data at the following links: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/16-to-19-allocation-data-2020-to-2021-academic-year and https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/16-to-19-allocation-data-2019-to-2020-academic-year. This information can be calculated by totalling the allocations to individual providers in the Advanced Maths Premium column.

12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is the annual cost of supporting Modern Foreign Languages Hubs.

The annual funding of the existing Mandarin Excellence Programme committed by the department since the launch in 2016 is set out in the table below:

Financial year

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Total

Funding
(£ million)

0.93

1.47

2.63

1.35

2.97

9.35

The programme is led by the Institute of Education, University College London. It initially started with 14 schools and has now grown to 75 schools with over 6,300 pupils, and the increased funding over the period reflects this. The next phase of the programme and funding is due to be announced shortly and will start from September this year.

The funding of the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Pedagogy Pilot Hubs by contract period, committed by the department, is set out in the table below:

Contract period

Dec 2018
- Dec 2020

Dec 2020
- Dec 2021

Dec 2021
- Dec 2022

Total

Funding
(£ million)

2.17

1.45

1.17

4.79

The MFL Pedagogy Pilot is managed by the National Centre for Excellence for Languages Pedagogy (NCELP) and was launched in December 2018. In addition to the support provided to the 45 schools in the pilot programme, NCELP has also so far developed Key Stage 3 schemes of work, lesson plans and accompanying resources for French, German and Spanish, which are available free of charge through its resource portal for all teachers.

In the 4th year of the programme, NCELP will deliver free professional development courses on MFL curriculum design and pedagogy to over 1,350 teachers nationally and develop fully resourced schemes of work for Key Stage 4 that will align with the new GCSE in French, German and Spanish.

12th Jul 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how much they contribute per annum to support the Mandarin Excellence Programme.

The annual funding of the existing Mandarin Excellence Programme committed by the department since the launch in 2016 is set out in the table below:

Financial year

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

Total

Funding
(£ million)

0.93

1.47

2.63

1.35

2.97

9.35

The programme is led by the Institute of Education, University College London. It initially started with 14 schools and has now grown to 75 schools with over 6,300 pupils, and the increased funding over the period reflects this. The next phase of the programme and funding is due to be announced shortly and will start from September this year.

The funding of the Modern Foreign Language (MFL) Pedagogy Pilot Hubs by contract period, committed by the department, is set out in the table below:

Contract period

Dec 2018
- Dec 2020

Dec 2020
- Dec 2021

Dec 2021
- Dec 2022

Total

Funding
(£ million)

2.17

1.45

1.17

4.79

The MFL Pedagogy Pilot is managed by the National Centre for Excellence for Languages Pedagogy (NCELP) and was launched in December 2018. In addition to the support provided to the 45 schools in the pilot programme, NCELP has also so far developed Key Stage 3 schemes of work, lesson plans and accompanying resources for French, German and Spanish, which are available free of charge through its resource portal for all teachers.

In the 4th year of the programme, NCELP will deliver free professional development courses on MFL curriculum design and pedagogy to over 1,350 teachers nationally and develop fully resourced schemes of work for Key Stage 4 that will align with the new GCSE in French, German and Spanish.

23rd Jun 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to publish their response to the consultation on proposed reforms to GCSE examinations in French, Spanish and German.

Officials continue to analyse the responses to the consultation and, whilst we have not yet specified a date for publication, it is expected that the government’s response will be published shortly after this year’s school summer holiday.

22nd Feb 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) the effectiveness, and (2) the impact of, Modern Foreign Language Hubs; and if no such assessment has been made, (a) whether they plan to conduct such an assessment, and (b) if so, when.

The National Centre for Excellence for Language Pedagogy (NCELP) programme was established with its main aims being to provide support to secondary schools to improve languages teaching at Key Stages 3 and 4, and to align modern foreign language (MFL) teaching with the recommendations of the Teaching Schools Council’s 2016 MFL Pedagogy Review. This was done so that in pilot schools more pupils will take up GCSEs in MFLs, and schools are enabled to achieve sustainable numbers and group sizes. Key performance indicators (KPIs) were agreed between NCELP and the department which link to these objectives.

As a consequence of school closures over the last year, and NCELP diverting much of its resource to assist the Oak National Academy by developing and recording Key Stage 3 lessons in French, German and Spanish, we have deferred our assessment of performance against KPIs until after December 2021. However, the information gathered to date shows that:

  • 92.6% of all teachers taking part in the pilot reported in September 2020 that they were confident in delivering the MFL pedagogical approach as described in the 2016 MFL Pedagogy Review produced by the Teaching Schools Council; and
  • Uptake of MFL GCSEs in the participating schools has increased by 8.2 percentage points between 2018 and 2020.

In the meantime, NCELP is on course to have completed work developing online resources for teaching and testing in French, German and Spanish in Key Stage 3 by December 2021, which are available free of charge for all MFL teachers at: https://resources.ncelp.org.

9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the support for the teaching and learning of German in British universities of the German Academic Exchange Service programmes for (1) the German lektor scheme and (2) the German Language Assistant scheme.

English universities are independent, autonomous institutions and are therefore free to choose which courses they run. Quality is assessed by the Office for Students, the regulator of higher education providers in England. Whilst the government firmly supports the teaching of German and other modern foreign languages in English universities, the government plays no role in the delivery of these specific schemes.

In terms of immigration arrangements, the government has been clear that all EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible for settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. All EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a visa under the new points-based immigration system. People wanting to come into the UK to work from 1 January 2021 will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level if they speak English, and if they meet the appropriate salary threshold.

The points-based immigration system is a global system which treats EU and non-EU citizens equally, prioritising individuals’ skills and talent over where a person happens to come from. The UK’s Points Based Immigration System has been designed with huge consideration given to businesses and employers, including the UK higher education sector, which has been consulted by the government throughout.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
9th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have, if any, to make an exemption for (1) German lektors and (2) German language assistants participating in the German Academic Exchange Service programmes, from the standard skilled worker visa regulations in respect of the salary threshold.

English universities are independent, autonomous institutions and are therefore free to choose which courses they run. Quality is assessed by the Office for Students, the regulator of higher education providers in England. Whilst the government firmly supports the teaching of German and other modern foreign languages in English universities, the government plays no role in the delivery of these specific schemes.

In terms of immigration arrangements, the government has been clear that all EU, EEA, and Swiss citizens must be resident in the UK by 31 December 2020 to be eligible for settled or pre-settled status in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme. All EU, EEA, and Swiss nationals arriving in the UK from 1 January 2021 will be required to apply for a visa under the new points-based immigration system. People wanting to come into the UK to work from 1 January 2021 will be awarded points for a job offer at the appropriate skill level if they speak English, and if they meet the appropriate salary threshold.

The points-based immigration system is a global system which treats EU and non-EU citizens equally, prioritising individuals’ skills and talent over where a person happens to come from. The UK’s Points Based Immigration System has been designed with huge consideration given to businesses and employers, including the UK higher education sector, which has been consulted by the government throughout.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, in addition to university student placements, any domestic alternative to Erasmus+ would cover (1) school exchanges for pupils and teachers, (2) technical education and workplace training, (3) work shadowing and youth work, (4) sports, (5) older people, (6) disadvantaged areas, (7) arts projects, and (8) people with disabilities, in line with the current Erasmus+ programme.

Participation in Erasmus+ is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU.

In parallel with the negotiations, we are continuing to develop a UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+ as a contingency measure. The Spending Review 2020 committed funding to prepare for a UK-wide domestic alternative, in the event that the UK no longer participates in Erasmus+, to fund outward global education mobility schemes. The government will set out further details on this potential scheme in due course.

As part of our ongoing preparations towards this potential scheme, we have looked at comparable schemes across the globe, including the Swiss European Mobility Scheme. The Department for Education is in regular contact with the Swiss government to discuss education-related matters, maintaining an open dialogue and holding discussions to share insights and best practice, including on the Swiss exchange scheme.

Youth and sport are the responsibility of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and it has been considering the provision of a domestic alternative scheme for the youth elements of Erasmus+ as part of the recent Spending Review. Funding was not, however, allocated to a domestic alternative to the youth element of Erasmus+ at the Spending Review.

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes which align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives, and do not consider that there is a need to create a specific domestic alternative programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion from the 2016 financial year to the 2021 financial year on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made, if any, of the domestic scheme to replace Erasmus+ set up by Switzerland; and if no such assessment has been made, what plans they have to assess the effectiveness of the Swiss replacement scheme before committing to a UK domestic alternative.

Participation in Erasmus+ is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU.

In parallel with the negotiations, we are continuing to develop a UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+ as a contingency measure. The Spending Review 2020 committed funding to prepare for a UK-wide domestic alternative, in the event that the UK no longer participates in Erasmus+, to fund outward global education mobility schemes. The government will set out further details on this potential scheme in due course.

As part of our ongoing preparations towards this potential scheme, we have looked at comparable schemes across the globe, including the Swiss European Mobility Scheme. The Department for Education is in regular contact with the Swiss government to discuss education-related matters, maintaining an open dialogue and holding discussions to share insights and best practice, including on the Swiss exchange scheme.

Youth and sport are the responsibility of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and it has been considering the provision of a domestic alternative scheme for the youth elements of Erasmus+ as part of the recent Spending Review. Funding was not, however, allocated to a domestic alternative to the youth element of Erasmus+ at the Spending Review.

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes which align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives, and do not consider that there is a need to create a specific domestic alternative programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion from the 2016 financial year to the 2021 financial year on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
1st Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the statement in the Spending Review 2020, published on 25 November, that the Department for Education settlement "provides funding to prepare for a UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+, in the event that the UK no longer participates in Erasmus+, to fund outward global education mobilities", whether such funding would be sufficient to provide for reciprocal arrangements as in the current Erasmus+ programme; and what steps are being taken to secure the recognition of other countries for a possible UK domestic alternative scheme.

Participation in Erasmus+ is subject to our ongoing negotiations with the EU.

In parallel with the negotiations, we are continuing to develop a UK-wide domestic alternative to Erasmus+ as a contingency measure. The Spending Review 2020 committed funding to prepare for a UK-wide domestic alternative, in the event that the UK no longer participates in Erasmus+, to fund outward global education mobility schemes. The government will set out further details on this potential scheme in due course.

As part of our ongoing preparations towards this potential scheme, we have looked at comparable schemes across the globe, including the Swiss European Mobility Scheme. The Department for Education is in regular contact with the Swiss government to discuss education-related matters, maintaining an open dialogue and holding discussions to share insights and best practice, including on the Swiss exchange scheme.

Youth and sport are the responsibility of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, and it has been considering the provision of a domestic alternative scheme for the youth elements of Erasmus+ as part of the recent Spending Review. Funding was not, however, allocated to a domestic alternative to the youth element of Erasmus+ at the Spending Review.

Erasmus+ Sport is a very small part of the programme, representing only 1.8% of the overall budget. We are already investing significant sums of money in sport programmes which align with Erasmus+ Sport themes and objectives, and do not consider that there is a need to create a specific domestic alternative programme to replace Erasmus+ Sport activities. For example, through Sport England, we are investing more than £1.2 billion from the 2016 financial year to the 2021 financial year on grassroots sport and physical activity programmes.

Lord Parkinson of Whitley Bay
Lord in Waiting (HM Household) (Whip)
7th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to encourage and support entrants to GCSE examinations in community languages for the 2020/2021 academic year.

All pupils should have the opportunity to study foreign languages as part of a core academic curriculum and this should include community languages. The department recognises the importance of high quality qualifications in languages such as Polish, Urdu, Arabic, Bengali and Turkish.

At key stage 4, languages, including community languages, are included in the English Baccalaureate (EBacc). Since the introduction of the EBacc performance measure in 2010, the proportion of GCSE entries from pupils in state funded schools in a modern foreign language (MFL) has increased from 40 per cent in 2010 to 47 per cent in 2019.

As with any other GCSE subject, the department expects schools to provide appropriate support to pupils to prepare them for examinations. In relation to the 2020/21 academic year, the department’s guidance to schools reopening from September states that the curriculum should remain broad from year 7 to year 9 so that the majority of pupils are taught a full range of subjects over the year, including sciences, languages, humanities, the arts, physical education/sport, religious education and relationships, sex and health education. The guidance also sets out an expectation that the majority of year 10 and year 11 pupils continue to study their examination subjects, supporting them towards their preferred route to further study. The full opening of schools guidance is available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/actions-for-schools-during-the-coronavirus-outbreak/guidance-for-full-opening-schools.


The department has invested in a range of programmes to increase uptake of languages at GCSE. The £2.41 million MFL Pedagogy Pilot commenced in December 2018 and is designed to improve uptake and attainment in languages at key stages 3 and 4.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many candidates for a language GCSE who entered for examination in summer 2020 were subsequently withdrawn by 15 May; and of those, how many were entered for less-taught, heritage or community languages.

The Department does not hold information about candidates who entered for a language GCSE examination in Summer 2020 and were subsequently withdrawn. Exam entries are a matter for the individual, independent exam boards.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether supplementary schools which are (1) registered as community language examination centres, and (2) not registered as community language examination centres, have been informed that they can provide their language students with teacher assessments and predicted grades on the same basis as mainstream schools.

This is a matter for the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) and I have asked its Chief Regulator, Sally Collier, to write directly to the noble Baroness. A copy of her reply will be placed in the House of Lords Library.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether students studying for GCSEs in a foreign language at a supplementary school will be eligible to sit the examination in the Autumn if they have been unable to do so this summer due to COVID-19.

We are working with the independent qualifications regulator, Ofqual, and the exam boards to ensure that students have the opportunity to sit exams in the autumn. This includes those who have studied at supplementary schools. Ofqual will be consulting on proposed arrangements.

30th Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to ensure that all language students at supplementary schools who have been entered for a GCSE examination in that language this summer but are unable to sit it because of COVID-19 are refunded automatically with their full entrance fee.

The department recognises that schools and colleges want clarity on exam fees following the announcement that GCSE exams will not take place this summer. The department and the exam boards are working together to ensure that they are provided with further information as soon as possible.


27th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have negotiated a continuity agreement for the UK with Peru, Colombia and Ecuador, which takes forward the current UK interests in the EU Free Trade Agreement with those countries; and if so, whether such a continuity agreement includes the trade and sustainable development provisions of Title IX of that agreement.

The UK and three Andean countries signed the UK-Andean Countries Trade Agreement on 15 May 2019, in Quito, Ecuador, ensuring continuity for UK-Andean trade. The agreement carries forward the trade and sustainable development provisions from the EU-Andean agreement. More information about the continuity agreement can be found on the GOV.UK website: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/uk-andean-countries-trade-agreement.

Earl of Courtown
Captain of the Queen's Bodyguard of the Yeomen of the Guard (HM Household) (Deputy Chief Whip, House of Lords)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they are preparing their guidance Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021: guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers, published on 18 November, in languages other than English; and if so, (1) in which languages it will be available, and (2) whether the translations will be available before 1 January 2021.

The haulier handbook is only one part of the wider package the Government has put in place to help and guide hauliers, which also includes the roll out of 45 Information and Advice Sites and a multimillion pound information campaign, running across the UK and Europe.

The haulier handbook will be available in 14 languages and officials have already published translations in Welsh, Polish and Romanian on GOV.UK.

A full list of languages is below:

  • English
  • Welsh
  • Polish
  • Romanian
  • Czech
  • French
  • German
  • Russian
  • Spanish
  • Bulgarian
  • Dutch
  • Hungarian
  • Lithuanian
  • Turkish

All translations are planned to available online from week commencing Monday 30 November 2020.

Baroness Vere of Norbiton
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Department for Transport)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have provided guidanceto GP practices about the responsibility to provide personal protect equipment to public service interpreters who are needed for face-to-face patient appointments; and if not, what plans they have to provide such guidance immediately.

We expect personal protective equipment (PPE) to be made available for interpreters working across any healthcare setting, including in general practice, when delivering face to face services. Public Health England publish extensive guidance on infection prevention and control which sets out the PPE that should be used when providing clinical/personal care. The standard operating procedures issued to general practice reference this guidance and also sets out additional guidance on the provision of services to people requiring interpreters and/or translation provision.

4th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the lack of COVID-19 information and advice in relevant languages on the death rate among BAME communities.

We have not made such an assessment. The Government has provided a wide range of guidance to support the country in tackling COVID-19 and considerable efforts are now underway to address that including work with stakeholder groups to help ensure messages are disseminated into different communities in culturally appropriate ways. For example, in Leicester, assets have been translated into 12 different languages, and a range of local community voices, such as faith leaders and local general practitioners, are engaged in supporting the campaign.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have updated the translated COVID-19 guidance to reference the addition of the loss of taste and smell to the official symptoms list; and if so, what steps they are taking to raise awareness of this update in relevant communities.

Following the change to the COVID-19 case definition, guidance documents were updated to include the symptom of a loss of, or change in, normal sense of taste or smell (anosmia). These are provided in the English language, published in an online only format on GOV.UK.

Several guidance documents were updated to include the new symptom. A limited number of original guidance documents were translated into languages other than English. Translated versions of the updated guidance have not been produced as at 5 June 2020. Public Health England is currently reviewing the requirements for translation of new guidance documents and incorporating other updates.

12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government who is responsible for providing personal protective equipment to public service interpreters working on a freelance basis in the NHS.

Everybody working on the front line deserves to have the equipment they need to do their job safely and the Government is working around the clock to ensure enough supply is reaching the health and social care sector.

The provision of personal protective equipment to staff is the responsibility of individual hospitals.

21st Apr 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Lord Bethell on 3 March (HL Deb, col 523), what progress they have made in (1) issuing advice and information about COVID-19 to the public in languages other than English, and (2) arranging specific briefings for public service interpreters working in the NHS.

As part of the Government's work to ensure the population are informed about COVID-19 and how best to respond, we have translated the Stay at home guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) and the COVID 19: guidance on social distancing for everyone in the United Kingdom and protecting older people and vulnerable adults, into a range of languages. These are the critical pieces of guidance that are relevant to a general public audience.

The translations include Arabic (Modern), Bengali, Cantonese, French, Gujarati, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Punjabi, Urdu and Welsh. These translations can be found online at GOV.UK.

The Government will continue to keep this under review and assess where information needs to be translated into other languages. In the meantime, many local authorities are making arrangements to translate into languages that are widely spoken in their area.

In general, translation and interpretation within National Health Service organisations is commissioned at an organisational level, so it would be down to individual organisations to brief their suppliers of translation and interpretation services.

16th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government when they expect to make a long-term decision on the funding for Voluntary Service Overseas.

The Foreign Secretary announced that we would provide funding to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) this year in his statement on ODA allocations to Parliament on 21 April. We have offered VSO funding for the V4D programme until the end of this financial year 2021/22. Officials have also started discussions with VSO on our future relationship.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
16th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact of the expiry of the bridging grant for Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) on (1) international volunteering, and (2) VSO's, programmes.

The Foreign Secretary has announced that we will provide funding to Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO) this year in his statement on ODA allocations to Parliament on 21 April. We have offered VSO funding for the V4D programme for 2021/22.

Lord Goldsmith of Richmond Park
Minister of State (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
11th Jan 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans, if any, they have to ask British embassies to designate an official with special responsibility for modern slavery, focussing on supply chains for exports to the UK and the operations of UK companies overseas.

Many British Embassies and High Commissions already have a focus on modern slavery including supply chain aspects where appropriate. This Government is committed to eliminating modern slavery from our communities and the global economy, and in 2019 appointed the UK's first International Modern Slavery and Migration Envoy to help drive forwards our efforts in partnership with other Governments and multilateral organisations. Section 54 of the Modern Slavery Act 2015 requires businesses to report on how they are tackling modern slavery in their operations and supply chains. Section 54 was designed to empower consumers, investors, civil society and others to scrutinise the action that businesses are taking to identify and address modern slavery in their supply chains.

The Government has committed to strengthening the legislation. Our response to the transparency in supply chains consultation, published on 22 September 2020, announced an ambitious package of changes to Section 54, including introducing specific reporting topics and requiring statements to be published by a single reporting deadline on a central Government-run registry, to enable the Government and others to continuously monitor compliance. In addition, the Government announced in the week of 11 January that it will introduce financial penalties for organisations that do not comply with the reporting requirements under the Modern Slavery Act. These measures require primary legislation and will be introduced when parliamentary time allows.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether, following the merger of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department of International Development, they plan to fund projects to help combat sexual violence in Colombia on a longer-term basis than the annual funding cycle has permitted to date.

The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which the FCO has designated a Human Rights Priority Country. Since 2016, UK support to a network of survivors of sexual violence has helped document 1200 new cases which are now before the transitional justice system. The UK has also funded work to train rural medical professionals in how to attend cases of sexual violence, including with a view to preserving evidence to facilitate convictions. More broadly, the UK has led efforts to strengthen action on conflict-related sexual violence through UN Security Council Peacekeeping Mandates and Resolutions. In April 2019, we advocated and voted for UN Security Council Resolution 2467 on sexual violence in conflict. This specified the importance of a survivor-centric approach in response to conflict-related sexual violence, which is the approach that underpins our programme work in Colombia. The UK remains committed to providing support to help Colombia tackle the legacy of sexual violence from its long conflict, and, as part of the FCO-DFID merger discussions, we will take the opportunity to review, refresh, and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate.

28th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to include greater involvement of survivors of sexual violence in the programme design of funded projects in Colombia.

The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which the FCO has designated a Human Rights Priority Country. Since 2016, UK support to a network of survivors of sexual violence has helped document 1200 new cases which are now before the transitional justice system. The UK has also funded work to train rural medical professionals in how to attend cases of sexual violence, including with a view to preserving evidence to facilitate convictions. More broadly, the UK has led efforts to strengthen action on conflict-related sexual violence through UN Security Council Peacekeeping Mandates and Resolutions. In April 2019, we advocated and voted for UN Security Council Resolution 2467 on sexual violence in conflict. This specified the importance of a survivor-centric approach in response to conflict-related sexual violence, which is the approach that underpins our programme work in Colombia. The UK remains committed to providing support to help Colombia tackle the legacy of sexual violence from its long conflict, and, as part of the FCO-DFID merger discussions, we will take the opportunity to review, refresh, and build on all existing strategies, as well as developing new approaches where appropriate.

13th Jul 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what support they are giving to the Special Jurisdiction for Peace in Colombia in respect of cases of sexual violence in conflict.

We are deeply concerned by reports of sexual violence by military actors in Colombia. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and are glad that the Colombian authorities have taken swift action to investigate these allegations and hold those responsible to account.

The United Kingdom remains committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which the FCO has designated a Human Rights Priority Country. The UK has continued to provide support to help Colombia tackle the legacy of sexual violence from its long conflict. Since 2016, UK support to a network of survivors of sexual violence has helped document 1200 new cases which are now before the transitional justice system. The UK has also funded work to train rural medical professionals in how to attend cases of sexual violence, including with a view to preserving evidence to facilitate convictions. We are also supporting civil society organisations to work with the Special Jurisdiction for Peace on sexual violence cases through our contribution to the UN Trust Fund.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps the British Embassy in Bogota is taking to monitor the progress of the peace process with regard to the dismantling of illegal neo-paramilitary groups in the regions of Chocó and Urabá in Colombia; and what support, if any, they are providing to the National Commission for Security Guarantees tasked with that responsibility.

We remain extremely concerned about the continued presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia, and the impact their competition for control of illicit economies has on local people and environments, particularly during this challenging time. The UK Embassy in Bogota is closely monitoring the situation.

President Duque's Government has publicly committed to implementing the Peace Accords of 2016 in their entirety, and we remain steadfast in our support of the Colombian authorities - including the National Security Guarantees Commission - as they seek to ensure sustainable peace in Colombia. We are proud to be the penholder on the issue at the United Nations Security Council - most recently, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke on presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia at the UN Security Council on 14 April.

We have committed almost £53 million over 5 years through the United Kingdom Conflict Stability and Security Fund for Colombia to support the implementation of the peace process, including across conflict-affected regions such as Chocó and Uruba. We regularly raise this with the Colombian authorities.

Furthermore, HMG provides overseas development assistance (ODA) to climate change initiatives in the region of Chocó in Colombia through two programmes delivered through the UK's International Climate Finance (ICF), UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) and Partnerships for Forests (P4F). These projects aim to tackle deforestation in Colombia by fostering sustainable alternative livelihoods and the development of the bioeconomy in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

3rd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of (1) reports of infighting between illegal armed groups attributed to illegal mining activity in Rio Quito, Chocó, Colombia, and (2) the impact of such infighting on the lives of the local population and the environment.

We remain extremely concerned about the continued presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia, and the impact their competition for control of illicit economies has on local people and environments, particularly during this challenging time. The UK Embassy in Bogota is closely monitoring the situation.

President Duque's Government has publicly committed to implementing the Peace Accords of 2016 in their entirety, and we remain steadfast in our support of the Colombian authorities - including the National Security Guarantees Commission - as they seek to ensure sustainable peace in Colombia. We are proud to be the penholder on the issue at the United Nations Security Council - most recently, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke on presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia at the UN Security Council on 14 April.

We have committed almost £53 million over 5 years through the United Kingdom Conflict Stability and Security Fund for Colombia to support the implementation of the peace process, including across conflict-affected regions such as Chocó and Uruba. We regularly raise this with the Colombian authorities.

Furthermore, HMG provides overseas development assistance (ODA) to climate change initiatives in the region of Chocó in Colombia through two programmes delivered through the UK's International Climate Finance (ICF), UK Partnering for Accelerated Climate Transitions (UK PACT) and Partnerships for Forests (P4F). These projects aim to tackle deforestation in Colombia by fostering sustainable alternative livelihoods and the development of the bioeconomy in order to reduce CO2 emissions.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of the illegal collation of secret files on civil society organisations, including human rights defenders, the press and others in Colombia.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been illegally gathering surveillance on civil society organisations. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and our Embassy in Bogotá regularly raises human rights issues. The United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which is a Human Rights Priority Country.

We work with the Colombian Government, civil society and multilateral partners to support full compliance with human rights obligations in Colombia. Neither the UN nor the IACHR has invited us to support the creation of a commission.

The British Government undertakes extensive risk assessments when designing projects in Colombia and deciding which to fund, including any potential negative impact on human rights. This includes the overseas security and justice assistance (OSJA) process, which is intended to ensure any United Kingdom projects meet our human rights obligations and our values. We continually monitor the effects of our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia, and make thorough assessments of the impact of our projects.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether their Embassy in Colombia will monitor investigations into the alleged collation of secret files on civil society organisations there.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been illegally gathering surveillance on civil society organisations. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and our Embassy in Bogotá regularly raises human rights issues. The United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which is a Human Rights Priority Country.

We work with the Colombian Government, civil society and multilateral partners to support full compliance with human rights obligations in Colombia. Neither the UN nor the IACHR has invited us to support the creation of a commission.

The British Government undertakes extensive risk assessments when designing projects in Colombia and deciding which to fund, including any potential negative impact on human rights. This includes the overseas security and justice assistance (OSJA) process, which is intended to ensure any United Kingdom projects meet our human rights obligations and our values. We continually monitor the effects of our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia, and make thorough assessments of the impact of our projects.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether any UK funding initiatives in Colombia are being used to support intelligence gathering activities there against civil society organisations.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been illegally gathering surveillance on civil society organisations. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and our Embassy in Bogotá regularly raises human rights issues. The United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which is a Human Rights Priority Country.

We work with the Colombian Government, civil society and multilateral partners to support full compliance with human rights obligations in Colombia. Neither the UN nor the IACHR has invited us to support the creation of a commission.

The British Government undertakes extensive risk assessments when designing projects in Colombia and deciding which to fund, including any potential negative impact on human rights. This includes the overseas security and justice assistance (OSJA) process, which is intended to ensure any United Kingdom projects meet our human rights obligations and our values. We continually monitor the effects of our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia, and make thorough assessments of the impact of our projects.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they have any plans to support the creation of an international commission including the participation of the UN and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, to support and oversee investigations into alleged illegal intelligence gathering and misuse by Colombian state institutions.

We are aware of allegations that Colombian state actors have been illegally gathering surveillance on civil society organisations. We expect state authorities to comply fully with their human rights obligations, and our Embassy in Bogotá regularly raises human rights issues. The United Kingdom is committed to protecting and promoting human rights in Colombia, which is a Human Rights Priority Country.

We work with the Colombian Government, civil society and multilateral partners to support full compliance with human rights obligations in Colombia. Neither the UN nor the IACHR has invited us to support the creation of a commission.

The British Government undertakes extensive risk assessments when designing projects in Colombia and deciding which to fund, including any potential negative impact on human rights. This includes the overseas security and justice assistance (OSJA) process, which is intended to ensure any United Kingdom projects meet our human rights obligations and our values. We continually monitor the effects of our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia, and make thorough assessments of the impact of our projects.

2nd Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what discussions they have had with the government of Colombia about the safety and security of residents in Rio Quinto.

We are aware of reports of violence by illegal armed groups in the Rio Quito. We remain extremely concerned about the continued presence of illegal armed groups in Colombia, and the impact their activity has on local people - even more so at this challenging time.

We regularly raise our concerns about these issues with the Colombian Government and in multilateral fora. Most recently, our Permanent Representative to the United Nations spoke on this at the UN Security Council on 14 April, and we consistently press the Colombian Government to focus on extending the rule of law to all parts of the country.

Colombia has made significant progress in its efforts to end the influence of such groups, and we remain steadfast in our support of the Colombian authorities as they work towards sustainable peace.

20th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of the compliance of British mining companies operating in Peru with the health and safety regulations set up by the government of Peru to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 to their workers, families and the wider community.

The UK Government does not specifically undertake work with UK mining companies operating in Peru to assess their compliance with local health and safety regulations. We expect them to comply fully with all measures put in place by the Government of Peru to limit the spread of COVID-19.

7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the impact on the UK's investment of funding to support the biodiversity hotspot on the Pacific coast of Colombia, of the (1) activities of paramilitary groups in the region, and (2) threat of displacement to the indigenous communities.

​The United Kingdom recognises the unique biodiversity of Colombia's Pacific coast and is committed to helping Colombia safeguard its environmental assets. Although this region is not the focus of our programming, the United Kingdom has implemented some climate change-related projects in the region, as well as some Newton Fund research projects on biodiversity and sustainability.

We are aware of reports of violence affecting certain areas in this region, and of the continuing presence of organised armed groups competing for control of illicit economies.

The British Government takes into careful consideration such factors when designing projects and deciding which to fund, and we continually monitor the effect of such risks on our programme work in consultation with colleagues working in Colombia. We also make a thorough assessment of the impact of all of our projects, including on the human rights of local communities.

We are steadfast in our support of the Colombian peace process, and UK-funded programmes across a range of issues from biodiversity to climate change help to improve the socio-economic conditions in rural areas and tackle the root causes of insecurity, building towards a sustainable peace.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of reports of collusion between the Colombian security forces and illegal armed groups.

​We are aware that organised armed groups operate in parts of Colombia, and of occasional reports that some members of the security forces are complicit in these groups' activities. We support the Colombian government's efforts to root out any such collaboration, including via our specific programme work to foster good governance and tackle corruption in security forces.

Colombia has made significant progress in its efforts to end the influence of paramilitary groups. We have seen little recent evidence of any widespread collusion between security forces and organised armed groups.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
7th Jan 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the threat to the security of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities, especially the Embera–Wounaan, on the Pacific coast of Colombia, following reports of armed skirmishes between paramilitaries, the Army of National Liberation and Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia for control of the land.

​We are aware of reports of violence on Colombia's Pacific coast. The presence of organised armed groups, fighting for control of illicit economies, disproportionately affects a number of Afro-Colombian and indigenous communities. Our Embassy regularly raises concerns about specific communities with the relevant state actors in Colombia. We support the Colombian government's deployment of further security forces to attempt to guarantee security. More widely, long-term security depends on socioeconomic development of the region and vice versa, key reasons why Her Majesty's Government remains steadfast in its support for the 2016 peace process and why the United Kingdom maintains significant development programming in Colombia.

Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon
Minister of State (Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office)
26th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they intend to make all of the customs declarations paperwork required by lorry drivers entering the UK from the EU from 1 January 2021 available in languages other than English, including online forms; and if so, in which languages such paperwork will be available.

HMRC do not make official paperwork available in other languages, except Welsh.

The Department for Transport document entitled “Transporting goods between Great Britain and the EU from 1 January 2021: guidance for hauliers and commercial drivers” sets out all the requirements and is available in other languages covering the countries where most drivers are from (English; Bulgarian; Czech; Welsh; German; Spanish; French; Hungarian; Lithuanian; Dutch; Polish; Russian; Turkish and Romanian).

Lord Agnew of Oulton
Minister of State (HM Treasury)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government (1) what assessment they have made of the impact on incoming school group visits to the UK from the EU of the requirement from 1 October that such groups will need to ensure that each individual child holds a full international passport, and (2) what plans they have to allow children on school trips to the UK from the EU to enter with an ID card only.

We have always expected people who visit the UK, including children visiting as part of a school group, from outside the EU (including close allies such as the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand) to hold a passport and we now expect those visiting from EU countries to do the same.

We have therefore phased out the use of EU, other EEA and Swiss national identity cards as a valid travel document for entry to the UK as a visitor, and as of 1 October 2021 all visitors are expected to hold a passport (and visa where necessary).

We provided almost a year’s notice for this change to allow people to plan ahead and obtain a passport, if they need to, before they travel. There are no plans to allow child visitors on school trips to enter the UK from the EU without holding either an individual or being part of a collective passport.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
11th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to speed up the process of visa applications for classroom language assistants.

With the introduction of the Skilled Worker route on 01 December 2020 we suspended the limit on overseas visas to work in the UK, and removed the Resident Labour Market Test. These changes have reduced the length of the process to recruit a worker from overseas by up to eight weeks in comparison to the former Tier 2 (General) route.

These reforms are part of a wider transformation to make the points-based system streamlined and digital. Enhancements for sponsors, combined with those for applicants, mean a faster end-to-end process from a sponsor getting a licence to an applicant coming to the UK. We have introduced Chip Checker functionality for a fully digital application system for EEA nationals applying through the new points-based system, allowing a fully online application process, reducing the time it takes an applicant to get a decision by up to one week.

The Home Office published its Sponsorship roadmap in August 2021 outlining its plans to deliver further reforms to the points-based system. These planned changes will make it easier for users to navigate the system and further reduce the processing times for employers to bring someone to the UK to work. Further details on the planned reforms can be found here:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk-points-based-immigration-system-sponsorship-roadmap

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
8th Dec 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the report by the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration An inspection of the Home Office’s use of language services in the asylum process, published on 11 November.

The Home Office have assessed the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration’s (ICIBI) report that was conducted between May to November 2019.

The Department has accepted all three of the ICIBI’s recommendations and our formal response of 11 November 2020 has been published and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/response-to-an-inspection-of-the-home-offices-use-of-language-services-in-the-asylum-process

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
19th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the letter from the Home Secretary to the Migration Advisory Committee, published on 23 October, on what evidence they based their decision "not to immediately accept the recommendations" contained in the report by the Migration Advisory Committee Review of the Shortage Occupation List: 2020, published on 29 September, that teachers of modern foreign languages and interpreters be included on the Shortage Occupations List.

The recent review of the Shortage Occupation Lists (SOL) was commissioned at a time when the main variable under consideration was the broadening of the skills requirement to include RQF level 3-5 occupations.

The UK labour market has changed dramatically due to the economic impacts of the measures necessary to tackle Covid-19. Many UK based workers now face an uncertain future and need to find new employment opportunities. The Government is clear our migration policies need to be considered alongside our strategies for the UK labour market.

Whilst we have considered carefully the possible impacts of the new immigration system, additional variables such as Covid-19 require closer examination. To avoid taking a piecemeal approach to implementing the MAC’s advice, we need time to monitor the various influences on migration flows and the labour market, including introduction of a new immigration system, and whether this is in line with our anticipated outcomes, before considering which changes are required.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
17th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the answer by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 16 November (HL Deb, col 1272), when were visa requirements for visitors to the UK from Peru last reviewed; and what criteria will be used to decide whether further review is required.

The UK keeps its visa system under regular review. Decisions on changes are always taken in the round and reflect key facets of the bilateral relationship with the country concerned. These will vary globally, but often include security, compliance, returns, and prosperity.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th Nov 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to amend the Immigration Rules to allow applications for relocation to the UK from former interpreters who have fled Afghanistan, who are otherwise eligible under the Ex-Gratia Redundancy Scheme, but need to apply from a third country.

We keep the Immigration Rules for the ex-gratia scheme for those Afghan interpreters who supported HM Forces under regular review, and will continue working with the Ministry of Defence to consider options for those who may otherwise be eligible to relocate to the United Kingdom but have left Afghanistan.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
14th Oct 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what assessment they have made of the recommendations in the report by the Migration Advisory Committee Review of the Shortage Occupation List: 2020, published on 29 September, that (1) teachers of modern foreign languages in secondary schools, and (2) interpreters, should be included on that list; and what plans they have to implement those recommendations.

The independent Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) published its report on the Shortage Occupation List on 29 September. This can be found here: www.gov.uk/government/publications/review-of-the-shortage-occupation-list-2020.

We are considering carefully its recommendations before commenting on whether specific occupations will be included and taking any final decisions.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what steps they are taking to enable compliance with the rules on a maximum of six people meeting socially by asylum seekers living in reception centres or hostels which have communal facilities.

We have worked closely with Public Health to ensure asylum accommodation providers are following relevant guidance and are supporting asylum seekers to follow Public Health guidance within the estate.

Providers are applying controls to further support social distancing such as providing translated public health guidance and instruction to service users.

Communal dining rooms have staggered meal times and appropriate marking to delineate social distancing. Where service users are isolating, food is placed outside of their rooms.

The Home Office are working closely with accommodation providers to ensure that the new health stipulation is followed and implemented accordingly. The varying types of accommodation require different approaches, the Home Office are working closely with providers to understand the implementation of those approaches and to assure themselves that Public Health guidance is applied appropriately.

During these unprecedented times the government is working with a range of partners and across departments to secure further accommodation and the MOD has offered use of some of its sites

We have sought Public Health England/Wales advice on how we can make best use of this accommodation, working within the constraints of the configuration, whilst minimising risks from covid-19.

We will follow the model which the MOD has adopted which is to continue to use the dormitories as shared rooms but to limit occupancy ensuring a minimum distance between beds of at least 2 metres. This will be complemented by a range of additional safety measures including increased cleaning of surfaces, availability of hand sanitisers, a track and trace system and extensive communications with residents around covid-19 control measures.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
15th Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to provide information and advice regarding COVID-19 in languages other than English and Welsh on their asylum support webpages

There are currently no plans to update the Asylum Support webpages with COVID-19 guidance.

Guidance for COVID-19 has been translated into 60 different languages in partnership with the British Red Cross and other partners such as Migrant help and is available using the link provided: http://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/coronavirus-information/

Also videos with key COVID-19 information for migrants in the UK are being released here: https://www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk/key-covid-19-information-for-migrants/

Alternatively links to translated support and guidance can be found through our Advice, Issue Reporting and Eligibility (AIRE) provider, Migrant Help here: https://www.migranthelpuk.org/translated-support

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
12th May 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the level of asylum support in line with the COVID-19 related uplift for Universal Credit.

We are currently reviewing the level of the cash allowances, as we do each year, to ensure that they remain capable of meeting the essential living needs of asylum seekers. The level of the cash allowances is not linked to Universal Credit.

Home Office has put in place a range of measures to support those in the asylum system who are affected by the covid-19 outbreak. We continue to monitor the situation closely and are making adjustments to our processes and procedures where necessary and appropriate

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how the new points-based immigration system will accommodate public service interpreters who work on a freelance basis.

On 19 February we published a policy statement setting out the United Kingdom’s future Points-Based Immigration System, which will work for all parts of the UK.

We will not be creating a dedicated route for self-employed people, However. in due course, freelance workers will be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route as recommended by the independent Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC).

Freelance workers contracted to provide services to an organisation can continue to be sponsored under the new skilled work route (which also allows them to work up to 20 hours a week for other organisations).

Public service interpreters fall within standard occupational classification (SOC) code 3412; authors, writers and translators. Occupations within this SOC code are considered to be skilled at RQF 4 by the MAC.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether there will be any flexibility in the new points-based immigration system's salary thresholds in respect of freelance public service interpreters who cannot guarantee their earnings levels.

On 19 February we published a policy statement setting out the United Kingdom’s future Points-Based Immigration System, which will work for all parts of the UK.

We will not be creating a dedicated route for self-employed people, However. in due course, freelance workers will be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route as recommended by the independent Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC).

Freelance workers contracted to provide services to an organisation can continue to be sponsored under the new skilled work route (which also allows them to work up to 20 hours a week for other organisations).

Public service interpreters fall within standard occupational classification (SOC) code 3412; authors, writers and translators. Occupations within this SOC code are considered to be skilled at RQF 4 by the MAC.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
25th Feb 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether public service interpreters working for the (1) NHS, (2) courts system, and (3) police, are regarded as (a) skilled, (b) high-skilled, or (c) low-skilled, workers.

On 19 February we published a policy statement setting out the United Kingdom’s future Points-Based Immigration System, which will work for all parts of the UK.

We will not be creating a dedicated route for self-employed people, However. in due course, freelance workers will be able to benefit from the proposed unsponsored route as recommended by the independent Migration Advisory Committee’s (MAC).

Freelance workers contracted to provide services to an organisation can continue to be sponsored under the new skilled work route (which also allows them to work up to 20 hours a week for other organisations).

Public service interpreters fall within standard occupational classification (SOC) code 3412; authors, writers and translators. Occupations within this SOC code are considered to be skilled at RQF 4 by the MAC.

Baroness Williams of Trafford
Minister of State (Home Office)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) interpreters, and (2) members of interpreters' families, have been relocated from Afghanistan to the UK under the (a) ex gratia redundancy scheme, and (b) intimidation policy.

A total of 448 locally employed staff and 910 family members have been relocated from Afghanistan to the UK, 1,358 in total. Of those, all but six were interpreters. Four were relocated under the Intimidation Policy, one under the new Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy which came into force on 1 April 2021, and the remainder under the Ex-Gratia Scheme.

The Intimidation Policy closed on 31 March 2021. It was replaced by the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy on 1 April 2021 and one relocation has taken place so far under that scheme.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many locally employed civilian interpreters who (1) have previously worked, or (2) currently work, for the UK Armed Forces (a) remain in Afghanistan, and (b) have fled to a third country.

UK Armed Forces do not currently employ any locally employed civilian interpreters in Afghanistan. Of those locally employed civilian interpreters who previously worked for UK Armed Forces, we do not hold any information on how many remain in Afghanistan; it would be impossible to maintain such a record, as it would require regular updates from those who left employment with us between four and 20 years ago. Our locally employed civilian interpreters do not update us as to their whereabouts. Of those locally employed civilian interpreters who previously worked for UK Armed Forces, we are aware of 15 who are currently in a third country. Not all would be eligible for relocation even if they in Afghanistan.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) interpreters, and (2) members of interpreters' families, have been accepted for relocation but have not yet been relocated under the (a) ex gratia redundancy scheme, and (b) the intimidation policy; and when they expect that they will be relocated.

A total of 104 former locally employed staff are eligible for relocation under the Ex-Gratia Scheme and are still in the process of being relocated. All but two are interpreters. We cannot comment with certainty on the number of family members, because some of the eligible applicants are not yet at the stage of the process where this is known.

The Intimidation Policy closed on 31 March 2021. It was replaced by the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy on 01 April 2021. There are no outstanding relocations under the Intimidation Policy.

A total of 107 current and former locally employed staff are eligible for relocation under the new Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy and are still in the process of being relocated. Most are interpreters. We cannot comment with certainty on the number of family members, because some of the eligible applicants are not yet at the stage of the process where this is known. I expect that these former and current locally employed staff and their families will be relocated before 11 September 2021.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether they keep a contact database of all locally employed civilian interpreters who have worked for UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan.

Due to the time elapsed since employment, and the security vulnerabilities inherent in using contact details that are over a decade old in some cases, we do not and cannot maintain a contact database of all locally employed staff who have worked for UK Armed Forces in Afghanistan. Our locally employed civilian interpreters are able to contact us through our dedicated team the Afghanistan Threat and Risk Evaluation Unit (ATREU) with the contact details available on the gov.uk website.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
27th Apr 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government whether the Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy will be administered solely by UK Embassy staff or whether any provision for its delivery will be contracted out to private companies.

The Afghan Relocation and Assistance Policy is an MOD owned policy which is jointly administered by the MOD, Home Office and FCDO. Initial contact will be with the expert in theatre team, with assistance from officials from the other Government departments named above at different stages of the process. The delivery of the scheme is supported in Kabul by the International Office Of Migration who facilitate some of the in-country activity. Currently HMG has no plans for private companies to support.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
2nd Sep 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many (1) Afghan interpreters, and (2) family members of Afghan interpreters, have been cleared for relocation to the UK but are awaiting transfer; how long on average they have been waiting; and when they anticipate relocations to take place.

Through the Ex-Gratia Scheme, 445 former Locally Employed Civilians (LECs - this includes interpreters) and their families have relocated to the UK. This means that Her Majesty's Government has already supported over 1,300 individuals in creating new lives in the UK. A further 350 staff have benefitted from our in-country finance and training packages.

There are two former LECs cleared for relocation to the UK but who are awaiting transfer. These two former LECs between them have seven family members who have also been cleared for relocation. There are a further nine family members of other former LECs whose visas have been accepted and who have been referred to Local Authorities in advance of their relocation.

Verifications were completed in January 2020, so the average wait time is circa eight months. However, there has been an adverse impact on relocations from the COVID 19 pandemic; it has affected all parties to the process, from the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office to Local Authorities and partners such as the Afghan Government and the International Organization for Migration. Subject to conditions outside of our control we expect all these individuals to be relocated in the next 12 months.

Baroness Goldie
Minister of State (Ministry of Defence)
12th Oct 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how often each year between 2017 and 2020 interpreters were used in courts or tribunals in each of the following case categories, as specified by the Ministry of Justice's language services contract: (1) complex written, (2) complex, and (3) standard.

A table with the answer to the question is below:

HMCTS - Volume By Complexity & Calendar Year

Year

Complexity

Volume

2017

Standard

25,899

2017

Complex

104,382

2017

Complex Written

3,766

2018

Standard

26,230

2018

Complex

101,539

2018

Complex Written

4,125

2019

Standard

27,520

2019

Complex

100,720

2019

Complex Written

5,687

2020

Standard

27,113

2020

Complex

69,058

2020

Complex Written

4,046

Please note this data includes fulfilled Face to Face bookings only due to the enquiry referring to instances where HMCTS has ‘engaged individuals’

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government, further to the remarks by Baroness Williams of Trafford on 18 May (HL Deb, col 558) that interpreters "will be removed from the register if they fail to reach the required standard", what are the detailed components of "the required standard".

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many interpreters registered with the Ministry of Justice have been (1) removed from the register, or (2) otherwise sanctioned, as a result of the spot checks and in-person assessments carried out from 1 January 2019 by the quality assurance provider The Language Shop.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
24th May 2021
To ask Her Majesty's Government what plans they have to increase the (1) qualifications, and (2) experience, required for interpreters to be listed on the Ministry of Justice register to the same levels as interpreters joining the National Register of Public Service Interpreters.

The Ministry of Justice is committed to ensuring the justice system is supported by a suite of high- quality language service contracts, that meet the needs of all those that require them.

The contracts have a clearly defined list of qualifications, skills, experience and vetting requirements interpreters must meet, which have been designed to meet the needs of the justice system. These are

set out in our contracts, which can be found at the following link:

https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

Our qualification and experience requirements and associated quality assurance arrangements provided by The Language Shop (TLS), have been carefully considered and have been designed so as to maintain the quality of interpretation provided under the contract, meet the demands and requirements of the Ministry and other contract users and encourage new entrants to the profession.

The Ministry of Justice will shortly be undertaking work to develop the next generation of Language Services contracts.

For the period 01/01/2019 – 21/05/2021, 169 language professionals have been removed and 40 language professionals have been sanctioned as a result of a Spot Check or In-Person Assessment.

The required standard comprises a number of different elements

All interpreters are required to meet the qualification requirements set out in the contract between the MoJ and the language service supplier. The requirements vary depending on the complexity of the bookings and the language in question. The specific requirement in each case is set out here: https://www.contractsfinder.service.gov.uk/Notice/975cb99e-fec6-430f-8f31-fd532a907137?p=@=UFQxblRRPT0=NjJNT08

TLS review the qualifications at the point of carrying out an assessment of an interpreter and will remove the interpreter if the supplier fails to demonstrate that they hold the correct qualifications.

All interpreters are required to comply with the MoJ code of conduct at all times. Any serious breach of the code of conduct, observed through an assessment by TLS or identified and confirmed through a complaint investigation, will result in removal from the register.

Interpreters also have to demonstrate competence in language proficiency, interpreting/professional skills, and subject matter knowledge. Interpreters are regularly assessed to ensure their interpreting meets the requirements of the assignment, being observed across each of the three competencies.

Lord Wolfson of Tredegar
Parliamentary Under-Secretary (Ministry of Justice)
11th Jun 2020
To ask Her Majesty's Government how many court hearings held remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic have (1) included the virtual presence of an interpreter, and (2) been rescheduled because an interpreter was needed but not available. [T]

Information on how many hearings held remotely since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic for spoken and non-spoken interpretation is provided below. The difference in start dates reflect the fact that thebigword’s system did not start recording any remote bookings until 30th March. We expect that very few took place before this date.

Dates

Number of telephone interpreting hearings

Number of video remote interpreting hearings

thebigword – spoken interpretation

30.3.2020 – 12.6.2020

2769

1470

Clarion uk – Non- spoken interpretation

23.3.2020 – 12.6.2020

N/A

288

The Ministry of Justice does not collect data on all hearings that have been rescheduled because an interpreter was unavailable. HMCTS performance data, including ineffective trial rates due to interpreter availability, is currently not available for this period.