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					Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Project

Research Study Report

Prepared for Walsall MBC Equality and Diversity Team

June 2005

RB Research and Consultancy 47 Norbury Avenue Pelsall Walsall WS3 4NE Tel: 01922 446234 Mob: 07791 606703 E-mail: rbresearch@blueyonder.co.uk

Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Research Project

INTERPRETATION, TRANSLATION AND HUMAN AIDS TO COMMUNICATION AND TRANSCRIPTION RESEARCH PROJECT
FINAL REPORT

TABLE OF CONTENTS
Page No EXECUTIVE SUMMARY SECTION 1: INTRODUCTION 1.1 1.2 1.3 Purpose of the Project Project Brief Research Methodology 3 3 3 4

SECTION 2: SETTING THE SCENE 2.1 2.2 2.3 Walsall’s Ethnic & Linguistic Minority Communities Policy and Legislation Background Previous Research Studies

5 5 7 11

SECTION 3: CURRENT & PAST USAGE OF INTERPRETATION & TRANSLATION SERVICES

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SECTION 4: CONSULTATION FINDINGS 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Introduction Consultations with Walsall Council Employees Consultations with Service Users/External Agencies Summary of Key Findings

22 22 23 36 54

SECTION 5: QUALITY AND QUALITY CONTROL 5.1 5.2 A Quality Service Quality Control

57 57 61

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SECTION 6: BENCHMARKING WITH OTHER AUTHORITIES AND AGENCIES 6.1 6.2 Definition Scope of Benchmarking

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64 64 76 78 78 84 85 86 87 90

SECTION 7: CONCLUSIONS SECTION 8: OPTIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS 8.1 8.2 8.3 Options Recommendations Costs to Walsall Council

SECTION 9: REFERENCES APPENDIX1: PROJECT RESEARCH BRIEF APPENDIX2: LIST OF ORGANISATIONS

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Executive Summary
This research project was commissioned by Walsall Council Equality and Diversity Team and undertaken by RB Research and Consultancy, from the end of March to mid June 2005.

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Purpose of the Project
To position Walsall Council and its service areas with the capacity to communicate clearly with individuals from the full range of Walsall communities, in their preferred language, medium or format, to a consistent standard and quality, without undue delay or additional charge, in order to afford them all, full access to the full range of council services.

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Project Rationale
Currently, within Walsall Council, interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription provision is very much ad hoc, where service teams seek their own methods of provision. As a result of communication barriers, many Walsall residents are not aware of the services they are entitled to, even when services are provided. In order to provide ‘Best Value’, and become an ‘excellent’ authority by 2008, Walsall Council has to deliver high quality services to all its residents, so that all people are treated fairly, equally and with respect, and where cultural diversity is recognised as one of Walsall’s key strengths. Without a corporate approach to communications that includes its minority ethnic communities and those with disabilities, Walsall Council will be unable to aspire to excellence.

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Project Brief
The brief required proposals outlining a number of models, by which the Council could provide an interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription service. Key considerations for the service were, that it must meet Walsall resident/user needs; it must meet service specific requirements; it must provide a best value, efficient and effective, high quality service, in a consistent and corporate framework

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Research Methodology
The research methodology sought to build on previous research studies on the issue of developing a corporate interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription service. The methodology included, desk top research of existing documentation; small group meetings/focus groups and face to face interviews with Council staff and external stakeholders, partners and diverse community groups from the local statutory and voluntary

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sectors; benchmarking visits to other public bodies in the West Midlands in order to identify best practice; internet research; and research via e-mail and telephone contact.

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Research Findings
Research findings demonstrated clearly that a corporate approach to the delivery of interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription services was very much required, and that the existing ad hoc arrangements were totally inadequate. The research also revealed that there were 5 key communications service elements that a Walsall Council corporate service should provide: a telephone verbal interpretation service to support minority ethnic community residents; a community language written translation service; a face to face interpretation element; a British Sign Language element; and, a wide range of accessible formats for people with disabilities.

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Conclusions
A range of different communications service models was studied, both in the West Midlands and in the wider United Kingdom. The key considerations were, to meet the varied communications needs expressed during the consultation process; to consider the need to provide the best quality service possible for Walsall residents; to develop a cost effective service; and, also, to consider the need to set up such a service, as speedily as possible, given the continuing development of the First Stop Shop. Five options, classified A-E, were considered. Option D was the only option that could meet the 5 particular requirements of a Walsall Council service. Option D would include entering into separate contracts with 5 providers. Best value would require a tendering and rigorous selection process. This service could be staffed by a Communications Officer or Co-ordinator, with administrative support, and managed by the Head of Communications, the Diversity Manager, or the Manager of the First Stop Shop. This option would provide a single interpretation and translation service for Walsall Council that would provide a co-ordinated, corporate response to all requests for communications support from both Walsall residents and Council service providers.

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Recommendation

It is recommended that: Walsall Council should strongly consider the feasibility of adopting Option D, as the best means of meeting the wide range of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription needs of all Walsall residents.

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1.0 Introduction
• This research study was commissioned by Walsall Council Equality and Diversity Team and undertaken by RB Research and Consultancy, from the end of March to mid June 2005.

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Purpose of the Project
To position Walsall Council and its service areas with the capacity to communicate clearly with individuals from the full range of Walsall communities, in their preferred language, medium or format, to a consistent standard and quality, without undue delay or additional charge, in order to afford them all, full access to the full range of council services.

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Project Brief
To submit proposals outlining a number of models by which the Council could provide an improved interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription service. Key considerations for this service were: 1) 2) 3) 4) 5) 6) Meeting resident/user needs Meeting service specific requirements Best value A consistent and corporate framework Quality control Flexibility and speed of response

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Other requirements of the Project Brief were to: 1) Build on work that has already taken place, across directorates, by a cross directorate communications project team 2) Draw on experience of other public bodies in the West Midlands and elsewhere in order to identify best practice 3) Identify associated costs of setting up and running the proposed models 4) Research the use of current staff to provide a first point of contact interpretation service. 5) Research the implications of the First Stop Shop

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The project brief also prescribed detailed discussions with: 1) 2) 3) 4) Officers of Walsall Council Key partners in the Borough Minority ethnic community representatives Local service providers

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The complete Research Brief is attached to this report as Appendix 1

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Research Methodology
The Research Methodology adopted included:

1) Desktop research of existing documentation, both to review communications strategy work that had already taken place, and, also, to review national and local strategies and policies that reflect the need for interpretation/ translation and human aids to communication and transcription services. 2) Small group meetings/focus groups with internal and external stakeholders, partners and diverse community groups from the local statutory and voluntary sectors. 3) Face to face interviews with internal and external stakeholders, partners and members of diverse community groups from the local statutory and voluntary sectors. 4) Benchmarking visits to other public bodies in the West Midlands, in order to identify best practice. 5) Internet research to explore information about interpretation and translation agencies elsewhere in the United Kingdom. 6. E mail and telephone contacts with individual Walsall Council Officers, not included in small group discussions, and officers managing interpretation and translation agencies, elsewhere in the United Kingdom • The research process was aimed to be as broad as possible, to include voluntary, statutory and local authority organisations, professionals in the field and end service users. (Details of organisations and individuals consulted can be seen at Appendix 2)

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2.0 Setting the Scene
2.1 Walsall’s Ethnic and Linguistic Minority Communities

2.1.1 Walsall’s Minority Ethnic Communities
Table 1: Ethnic groups in Walsall

Total Borough Population White Asian: Indian Pakistani Bangladeshi Chinese Other Asian Black: Caribbean African Other Black: Of mixed parentage Other ethnic group
Source: 2001 ONS Census

% 100 86.4 5.4 3.7 1.0 0.2 0.3 1.1 0.1 0.1 1.4 0.1

253,499 219,065 13,765 9,338 2,503 584 876 2,839 372 289 3,551 317

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The recorded population of Walsall has decreased by 5,989 since 1991, but it is important to point out that Walsall’s minority ethnic population has increased from 24,794 (9.6% of Walsall’s total population) to 34,434 (13.6% of Walsall’s total population). The 2001 Census also recorded that 15,211 (44%) of Walsall’s minority ethnic communities were born outside the European Union, thus providing some indication of the potential scale of interpretation and translation need. In addition, these Census recorded numbers would be supplemented by people who had attained refugee status. It is also important to note that the recorded Bangladeshi population of Walsall has increased 73%, from 1,447, in 1991, to 2,503, in 2001. A large population increase was also recorded in the Pakistani community, whose recorded population increased 53% from 6,102, in 1991, to 9338, in 2001. The recorded increases in the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities to a total 11,841 (34% of Walsall’s total minority ethnic community population), in Walsall, have implications for any proposed communications strategy, as the Bangladeshi and Pakistani communities are regarded as amongst the most linguistically isolated of minority ethnic communities.

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It is, also, worth noting that the changing nature of the geo-political landscape, in terms of movements of people within the European Union, as well as asylum seekers and refugees, has led to an increase in the number of ethnic and linguistic minorities in Walsall. Walsall Council’s Asylum Office, in June 2004, calculated that there were 396 Asylum Seekers and Refugees resident in Walsall. The main languages spoken, recorded in a survey conducted by Walsall Council First Stop Shop Contact Centre Manager, in 2004, were Bengali, Gujarati, Kurdish, Punjabi, Turkish and Urdu. This survey recorded a total of 70 languages spoken in the Walsall area.

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2.1.2 Walsall’s Deaf and Hard of Hearing People
• Both the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), and Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing (SCSH) estimate that more than 36,000 people among the adult population of Walsall have hearing impairments. SCSH statistics (21/06/03), recorded 379 people that were registered deaf and 779 that were registered hard of hearing. Those statistics also recoded 258 BSL users amongst Walsall residents, 1,960 who used textphones/minicom and 9,281 who had hearing aids. British Sign Language (BSL) was recognised as an official community language, by the UK Government, in 2003, and, subsequently, by Walsall Council, in 2004.

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2.1.3 Walsall’s Visually Impaired People
• Walsall Social Services Information Systems, in 2003, recorded 804 people that were registered as blind and 1006 that were registered as partially sighted, a total of 1810. The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) suggests less than 1/3 of those who are eligible for registration are actually registered. The RNIB also has recorded that numbers of blind and partially sighted have increased 20% in the last 30 years.

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2.2 Policy and Legislation Background
2.2.1 Introduction
• The decision to establish an interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription service is usually made in response to: 1. An increased volume of service users who require language support, or 2. The need to formalise already existing ad hoc arrangements because they are no longer adequate or legal 3. Complaints received about services or lack of services, from service users and from directorates • Although the need for such services may be all too obvious to local people and front – line workers involved, a formal case does have to be made to secure the commitment and financial support necessary to set up a properly resourced interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription service. The case for establishing an interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription service includes two crucial components: 1. Legal imperatives for provision 2. Policy Imperatives for provision

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2.2.2 Legislation
• The provision of interpretation and translation services for non-English speakers is embedded within European Law, (e.g. European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms 1950: the United Nations Convention of the Rights of the Child 1989; the Human Rights Act 1998, and also UK Law. There are several major pieces of UK legislation that place a legal obligation on statutory agencies, such as Walsall Council, to communicate, in an appropriate manner, in the course of their duties. However, the legal duty to communicate in languages other than English, and other formats, is often implied rather than explicit.

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A. The Race Relations Act 1976 • Under the Race Relations Act, which legislates on the ways services are provided, it is unlawful to discriminate on racial grounds, either directly or indirectly. Racial grounds cover not only ‘race’, but also colour, nationality (including citizenship) and ethnic or national origin. The Act states in Section 20 that:

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“It is unlawful for anyone concerned with the provision of goods, facilities or services to the public or a section of the public, to discriminate by refusing or deliberately omitting to provide them or as regards their quality or the manner in which, or the terms on which, he or she provides them”. • Failure to provide language and communication support services, where there is a known need could be construed as indirect discrimination

B. The Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 • The Race Relations Amendment Act came into force on April 1st, 2001. The Act strengthens the Race Relations Act 1976, and is the government’s legislative response to the Macpherson Inquiry Recommendations of June 1999. The Act seeks to counteract the ‘Institutional Racism’ highlighted by the inquiry. Underpinning the new Act, is the Government’s belief that public authorities have a special responsibility as employers, policy makers and service providers to deliver and promote race equality. The Government expects local authorities to set the pace on race equality and lead by example. The Government believes that promoting race equality is the positive way oft tackling institutional racism. The Act strengthens and makes enforceable the general duty on public authorities both to promote racial equality, a new enforceable section 71, and to assess every function/service/policy against the Act. A specific duty of the Act is to “set out arrangements for ensuring minority ethnic people have access to information and services a public authority provides”.

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C. The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 • Legislation requires Walsall, since October 1999, to make reasonable adjustments for disabled people, such as providing extra help, making all information accessible to people with disabilities, providing language and communication support provision, or making changes to the way the Council provides its services Other pieces of legislation and guidance, which affect disabled people are: a) The Disabled Person’s (Services, Consultation and Representation) Act 1986, gives disabled people rights to assessment and information on services

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b) The Chronically Sick and Disabled Person’s Act 1970, requires Local Authorities to provide a range of services to meet the needs of disabled people.

2.2.3 Policy
A. Walsall MBC Equal Opportunities Policy • At local Walsall level, the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy that covers service provision, will be one of the most effective levers for ensuring language and communication support provision. Section 7 of the Policy states that : “The Council is committed to ensuring use of language and formats that are understood by the community”. B. The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry Report 1999 • Sir William Macpherson’s inquiry into Stephen Lawrence’s murder, has had a critical impact on public policy, in relation to issues of discrimination and disadvantage in British society, in general, and public service agencies, in particular. The definition of institutional racism used in this report has become a benchmark for equalities work. It is: “’ Institutional Racism’ consists of the collective failure of an organisation to provide an appropriate and professional service to people because of their colour, culture or ethnic origin……….” • The Stephen Lawrence Inquiry also listed key corporate race equality performance indicators including… “Are appropriate translation and interpreting facilities provided to ensure that Black, Asian and other ethnic minority people can access services equally”? • Failure to provide language and communication support provision is one of the most obvious forms of institutionalised racism if it means that an organisation cannot deliver a proper service to all its clients.

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C. The Modernising Agenda • The Government’s vision for ‘modernising’ the management and delivery of public services, into the next century, is described in the ‘Modernising Government’ White Paper, published in March 1999.

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The most significant aspect of the ‘Modernising Agenda’ is the focus on reducing inequalities with reference to the specific needs of the local population The White Paper includes five main themes that are relevant to best value authorities: 1) ensuring that public services are responsive to the needs of citizens, not the convenience of service providers 2) ensuring that public services are efficient and of a high quality 3) ensuring that policy making is more joined-up and strategic, forward looking and not reactive to short-term pressures 4) using information technology to tailor services to the needs of users 5) valuing public service and tackling the under-representation of minority groups.

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Walsall Council’s vision for 2008 is to be an ‘excellent authority’, serving a Borough, where “all people – our citizens and visitors – are treated fairly, equally and with respect, and where cultural diversity is recognised as one of Walsall’s key strengths”. Under ‘Best Value’, failure to provide language and communication support provision means that Walsall Council cannot deliver effective high quality services to all its residents, and would not be able to be an ‘excellent’ authority by 2008, where “all people – our citizens and visitors – are treated fairly, equally and with respect, and where cultural diversity is recognised as one of Walsall’s key strengths”.

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D. Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Strategic Objectives • Providing accessible information to people also relates to statements in the strategic objectives for Social Care and Supported Housing. One of the current strategic objectives is to ‘maximise life chances and enhance quality of life’. Providing people with clear information, in the format that is most accessible to them, is clearly part of enhancing people’s quality of life and ensuring Council services reflect the needs of people from different minority groups.

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2.3

Previous Research Studies

2.3.1 Introduction
• A considerable amount of research has already been conducted, internally within the Council, on Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription issues.

2.3.2 Research by the Council Cross Directorate Communications Project Team to identify needs and map current arrangements
• The Project concerned the two areas of translation and interpretation of the spoken ethnic minority languages and human aided communication and translation services, meeting the needs of deaf and blind people. Walsall MBC recognised British Sign Language in March 2004. This followed consideration of a single British Sign Language (BSL) unit at Walsall Council for nearly 10 years. Work was done, including documented research by Deafworks, ‘Interpreting Services for Deaf people in Walsall, 1998, to ascertain need, demand and options for a BSL/English service. A Council Cross Directorate ‘Methods of Communication’ Working Group has been identifying needs, mapping current arrangements and recording relevant issues, in support of Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing’s Improvement Plan. The Working Group comprised staff from Social Care and Supported Housing, the Council’s Corporate Communications Team and Walsall Council’s Access Officer. The research included a demographic study of Walsall’s population, consultations with staff and service users on their views and needs, regarding a translation and interpretation service and regarding the provision of different formats for disabled people. A benchmarking exercise was also conducted with other social services departments in the West Midlands. The Project reflected the need to improve access to Council services by ensuring that alternative methods of communication are available to existing and potential Council service users. Enhancing methods of communication is seen as a vital element in delivering the Council’s commitment to be a listening council, and, also, attaining Equality Level 3, for which the Council needs to communicate with individuals in their preferred format, without undue delay or additional charge. In pursuit of best quality provision, the Working Group decided the Service would need to adhere to national standards produced by: 1) The National Register of Public Service Interpreters

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2) 3) 4) 5) 6) •

The Independent Registration Panel The United Kingdom Association of Braille Producers The Association of Lip Speakers The Association of Sign Language Interpreters, and The Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People.

The full extent of communication support needs includes making sure that quality translation and interpreting services for minority ethnic groups and quality human aids to communication and transcription services are available, such as BSL, lip speakers and speech to text, and ethnic minority languages. It also includes providing information in other formats, such as Braille, large print, audio tape, CD, video and symbols.

The Present Situation A. Spoken minority ethnic community languages • With regard to spoken minority ethnic languages, corporately, there is no guidance on the acquisition of community language support. In service areas, there are ad hoc arrangements with external providers, such as Walsall Communication and Translation Service (CATS), the Brasshouse Language Centre and ‘Five Star’ Interpreting and Translations: a) Walsall CATS is a voluntary organisation, run by a full time coordinator and administrator, which, via a pool of part time interpreters, offers interpretation in 40 different languages. Where translation is concerned or the need to find interpreters in languages it does not offer itself, CATS acts as a broker and seeks to find appropriate support from other companies in the West Midlands. Where BSL is concerned, CATS uses Walsall Deaf People’s Centre. b) Brasshouse Language Centre is the principal provider of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services, to Birmingham City Council. The Brasshouse Centre employs 8 full time interpreter/translators, who cover Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Mandarin Chinese and Farsi. Brasshouse is seeking to employ full time Pushto, Dari and Farsi interpreter/translators. At the moment, they do not have a full time in house BSL interpreter, although they arrange BSL support for Birmingham City Council. Brasshouse also employs a full time producer/creator of alternative formats – large print, audio formats, MP3, web media, Braille 1 and 2, Moon, information on floppy disc and CD and website consultancy. c) Five Star Interpreting and Translations, based in Birmingham, offers a full translation and interpreting service with a network of

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250 interpreters covering over 50 languages, for clients such as Social Services Departments, Primary Trusts and Legal establishments. • In addition to ad hoc arrangements with external providers, there are arrangements with employees and/or friends of the family.

B. Human Aids to Communication and Translation for Deaf and Blind people • The Social Care and Supported Housing ‘Methods of Communication’ Project Report suggests there are large numbers of people in Walsall with hearing impairments. “This is an area that needs to be addressed. Currently, in Walsall, BSL interpretation services are limited, and there is very little information produced in BSL. This issue will, no doubt, become a higher priority for the Council, now that it has recognised BSL as an official language”. • The Report also suggests that there are large numbers of older people who have become deaf or hearing impaired later in their lives. Many of these people are not familiar with BSL and will require other communication solutions or formats. The present situation includes extensive corporate guidelines and sources for people with disabilities or people who are working with people with disabilities, on the Council’s intranet system, ad hoc arrangements with providing organisations, in the service areas, and unofficial arrangements with employees and/or friends and family. Social Care and Supported Housing employs 1 full time employed BSL/English Interpreter (currently seconded), and also use freelance interpreters, when necessary. Other council services buy in freelance interpreters or contract on a one off basis with organisations, on a mainly reactive needs only basis. The Cross Directorate Communications Project Team concluded that there was evidence within the Council of a minimum provision of access, in a form which does not sufficiently meet the needs of deaf people.

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Options • For spoken ethnic minority languages, the Communications Project Team identified two separate but related needs: a) A resource to translate written material into other languages, and b) A resource to interpret information for individuals in order to help them access Council services.

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Three service delivery options were identified which were felt to be workable, the issue being, what might be best for service users, the Council and the Council’s partners:

1. ‘In House’ provision of interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription services • The ‘In House’ option would require an increase in staffing. It was felt, by members of the Cross Directorate Communications Project Team that bi lingual and bi cultural staff could provide a valuable service and provide an advantage in front line services, when an interpreter was not present. However, in many instances, bi lingual and bi cultural staff were not seen as a substitute for interpreters. Some of the drawbacks of using bi lingual and bi cultural staff were identified. Fluency in another language does not mean that a member of staff has been trained as an interpreter. There is the danger that the skills of bilingual staff may be taken for granted by monolingual staff and demand becomes excessive. Lack of monitoring of the nature and extent of use of their services may hide the real need for interpreters and could result in ethically based decisions, with extra skills being expected of bilingual staff. The issue was raised that if the skills of bilingual staff were to be used, there may be a requirement for this to be an agreed part of their job description, with clear boundary lines for what may be interpreted, recognition and remuneration where appropriate, as well as training, development and regular monitoring. This option would also require training for professional workers so they would be aware of the ethical aspects and of the need to be protected themselves from the consequences of not using appropriately trained or qualified interpreters. It was also suggested that users of some ‘in house’ services and specialist providers were uneasy, even hostile about continuing or expanding an in-house option, and this alone would make it very difficult for service areas to manage. This system would not allow for monitoring the standard.

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2. Contracting out to an external organisation • The view of the group was that there are savings and benefits if a single source is used to provide a quality joined up service, instead of each service area being responsible for the provision and the payment of interpreters from a wide variety of sources. Given the variety of different communication needs, it was felt highly likely that multiple sources would be needed to provide the full range of services (BSL,

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transcriptions services and the full range of spoken minority ethnic languages). • It was felt that a quality joined up service, simply managed, easily monitored and easily used, would increase the use of the service and should also result in consistent standards and value for money

3. In – house administration/booking with contracts to external organisation • This approach would mean establishing a corporate resource, to manage administration and booking of translation and interpretation services. This function would also have responsibility for monitoring usage, standards and quality of service as well as ensuring the council as a whole adhered to the new policies. The Cross Directorate Communications Project Team recognised that the provision of quality translation and interpretation services is a complex issue and there are very different sets of knowledge and experience associated with translation and interpretation services for ethnic minority languages and for human aided communication. The Communications Project Team concluded that further work be undertaken to prepare the Council to develop the capacity to communicate clearly with individuals from the full range of Walsall’s diverse communities in their preferred language, medium or format, and to prepare the production of clear policies, a framework and guidance

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2.3.3 Research by Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing ‘Methods of Communication’ Working Group
A. Social Care and Supported Housing, via its Methods of Communication Project sought the views of staff re Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services. • • Fifty seven managers were consulted, twenty seven of whom responded and offered the following observations: Languages used by staff were Urdu, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi, Mirpuri, BSL and other user friendly formats for people with learning disabilities. Other essential requirements included accuracy, confidentiality, 24 hr availability and knowledge of Social Work issues, including assessment processes, mental health issues and fostering and adoption services. “There are only a few agencies offering services and there is no assistance or guidance for arranging services”.

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“A set of quality standards for the contracted agencies would be welcomed by staff”. “It is extremely important that ways are found to encourage staff to use translation and interpretation services, as people may be excluded who need help because we cannot communicate with them”. “Walsall MBC could be excluding current service users and carers from accessing further services and information. If a robust, easy to use translation service is developed, it will encourage staff to make use of it”. “We will then be able to promote these services more widely to service users and carers, thus providing them with a better service and fulfilling our duty to make our services accessible to all people” Other comments 1. Staff said they would be more likely to use translation and interpretation services if they were easier to organise and quality was better 2. A gender specific service is also sometimes required by staff and any agency providing services would need to offer this. 3. Beyond translation and interpreting services, in some areas, cultural and religious advice for staff would also be helpful, including general queries for marketing and publicity purposes and specifically for one to one work with individuals or families. 4. There was clear agreement that it would be helpful for staff if there were a group of contracted agencies providing communication services and that these agencies should have to comply with specific quality standards. Conclusions • Staff concluded that many people’s communication needs, (staff and service users), were not being met as a direct result of not having a coordinated, corporate approach to the delivery of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services. They felt communication needs were not being met because of a combination of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Lack of translation and interpretation services Lack of any quality standards for translation and interpretation agencies Lack of awareness among service users about their right to request different formats Lack of awareness by staff of where and how to access services Lack of promotion to the public and service users that these formats and services are available

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Staff felt that Borough wide issues needed to be dealt with at a corporate level. Based on the current consultations and other research, respondents felt that it was appropriate that a comprehensive translation service be developed locally by the Council. This service could be either: a) An in house Council based service, or b) A service provided by one or more contracted external services

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The Council should consider developing a range of translation and interpreting services, based on contracts with various local and external agencies. Interim contracts could be agreed on a temporary basis as a quick win. As there are several services growing and developing within Walsall, e.g., Walsall Communication and Translation Service, and Walsall Disability Centre, it would make sense for the department to invest in these local services and develop contracts with them that include specific standards regarding: a) Formats and languages required b) Quality of work c) Response times.

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Staff consulted also felt there should be: a) Clear procedures for staff to access these services b) A standard statement included in all public information stating what formats are available and how to access them c) A policy where master copies of information (printed translations, audio tapes, videos are produced in all of the agreed formats and then copied on request.

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Staff respondents recommended that Social Care and Housing Senior Management Board consider a range of options and recommend a preferred option to be taken. Options were to: a) Pursue further action within the department to develop a translation and interpreting service. b) Put the work of the Project to one side and let the corporate project lead the development of a translation and interpreting service c) Take the work done within the dept to the corporate team and propose a pilot to be carried out within social care and supported housing

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B. Social Care and Supported Housing, via its Methods of Communication Project sought the views of service users, carers and the public re Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services. • Consultation with service users, carers and the public was done in two ways, namely, through focus groups and surveys. Various small focus groups and small group interviews were held with local voluntary groups. Various small focus groups were held with local voluntary agencies. Other groups were asked to complete surveys. Overall themes identified were:
PREFERRED FORMATS AND LANGUAGES AND SOURCES OF INFORMATION

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People with visual impairments preferred large print and audio tape. This depended on the severity of their visual impairment and whether or not they had a facility to play audio tapes. It also depended on the type of information being communicated. If it was a leaflet, it was agreed it would be better on tape as people could replay the information several times to let it sink in. Respondents also suggested the adoption of a standard size of large print for all leaflets throughout Social Care and Supported Housing. People surveyed suggested a range of sizes. The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) suggests that people with visual impairments can read print anywhere from 16 to 22 point. They recommend that you always ask the person what size they prefer. Most respondents preferred these formats because it meant that hey could receive information first hand and not have to depend on others. People in this group gained information from Walsall Society for the Blind, the Walsall Society for the Blind ‘Talking Newspaper, relatives, television, friends, the mobile library and the telephone. People with hearing impairments clearly preferred BSL, including via interpreters, on video tape and on CD. There was a strong emphasis on the use of interpreters as a preference. There were many comments about making sure that the interpreter was appropriately qualified to translate the issues being discussed. There were also issues of confidentiality. Some respondents did not want interpreters who worked for Social care and Supported Housing because they felt they may not be objective. It was also suggested that plain, simple English be used, as people who only speak BSL can sometimes have difficulty understanding written English. Most people consulted got their information from Walsall Deaf People’s Centre and Walsall College. Many people also made use of the 18

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interpreting service offered by the Social Care Deaf Services team at the Disability Centre. A suggestion was that videos of information in BSL could be kept at the Walsall Deaf People’s Centre in a lending library. • People with learning disabilities preferred large print and symbols. Many people surveyed preferred a combination of formats, such as audio tape and large print or audio tape and symbols. This group also preferred the use of plain English without jargon or complex information Most people in this group gained their information from Social Services Offices and other people (family and friends). They also felt that it would be helpful to have people from agencies come out to them in the community to talk about available help. Ethnic minority groups consulted preferred interpreters and face to face communication People from these groups got information from a range of places, such as GP surgeries, mosques, temples, various voluntary groups and community associations. Many people felt it would be helpful if social services and other agencies did road shows or outreach sessions in community settings. There needs to be better communication with service users and the public about the availability of these formats so they are aware of how and where they can ask for them. Key themes identified were: a) The need to have a range of formats that can potentially be produced, as well as general or summary documents, in several key formats, for people to access immediately. The consultations clearly demonstrated that there was clearly not one simple solution for each group. Types of preferred formats identified ranged from face to face communication, such as interpreting, to audio tapes and printed translations and/or a combination of these methods of communication. b) The need to establish better communication links with service users and the public about the availability of these formats, so that they are aware of how, where and when they can ask for them c) The need to be aware of the best ways to reach people and the best ways of getting information to them.

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d) The need to make better use of the many voluntary and community groups in Walsall that serve many people throughout the Borough. Those groups often serve as a main or sole source of information. e) The need to build and strengthen links with other agencies, such as health and education to take advantage of their very considerable network of contacts, in order to share information about services, formats etc. Many people stated that they gained information from their GP surgery or local school. Similarly, it was suggested that better links should be built with various places of worship in Walsall, an especially important way to reach minority ethnic community groups. f) The need for immediate face to face communication via interpreters. For other formats, respondents were generally happy to wait for information, as long as it was in their preferred format, and as long as they were made aware that the formats were available.

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3.0 Current and Past Usage of Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcriptions Services
A. Walsall Council does not have a corporate approach to the provision of translation, interpretation and human aids to communication and transcriptions services. Those directorates that use or have used interpreters and translators adopt a number of different ad hoc arrangements, including Language Line, (Language Line provides a telephone interpreting service, where all transactions are completed over the telephone. The user has his or her own Identity Number and the service is chargeable. The service is available 24 hours, 365 days a year, in 150 languages and connects the client to a qualified interpreter in seconds. The service can be used any time of day, from any location, using any type of telephone. No special equipment is needed. An initial language barrier can be quickly and effectively removed), and local providers, such as Walsall Communication and Translation Service (CATS), Brasshouse Language Centre and Five Star, both of Birmingham, and in – house staff. B. The lack of a corporate approach to the provision of translation, interpretation and human aids to communication and transcriptions services has meant that little information on the current and past usage of language and communications services is readily available. C. Existing Information has been collected, either via previous research conducted by Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing, or via direct contact with officers from the various directorates, either individually or in groups. D. A survey of 57 Managers, conducted as part of Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Methods of Communication Project, revealed that most staff said they never or rarely used translation or interpretation services. E. Several Social Care and Supported Housing service managers use/have used Walsall CATS and Five Star, on the recommendation of the Council’s Equality and Diversity Team. For community language support, service managers were advised contact translation and interpretation companies, such as Walsall Communication and Translation Service (CATS), Brasshouse Language Centre, Birmingham or Five Star, also of Birmingham. However, it was made clear that those agencies were not officially endorsed by the Council. Human aids to communication support was offered to service managers, via the intranet.

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F. A Sign Language Interpreting Service (SLIS) forms part of the sensory support services team within the Younger Adults and Disability Services division of Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Directorate. The SLIS consists of one sign language interpreter post that is managed by the operational manager. The administration support team provides the administrative support for the bookings and in finding freelance interpreters when the in-house interpreter is unavailable. The in-house interpreter is, currently, seconded to a ‘Supporting People’ funded project and the post has not been filled. Freelance interpreters have been used instead. G. The Planning and Transportation Service of Walsall Council has evolved its own language support system. This system involves a contract with Language Line, supplemented by staff volunteers to act as interpreters, (paid £8 per contact), who signpost to Language Line and CATS, for BSL and community languages. There is also a Minicom. H. Walsall Library Service includes an Ethnic Services Team that, itself, promotes library services for Black and Asian communities throughout Walsall. The team includes a range of staff with language skills, including written translation that covers the main Asian languages spoken in Walsall – Punjabi, Hindi, Gujarati, Bengali and Urdu. There is also a Walsall Asian Library User group that seeks to promote cultural awareness, and the use of libraries by Asian residents.

4.0 Consultation Findings
4.1
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Introduction
This section of the Report includes the findings of consultations with a range of individuals and groups, within Walsall Council, with diverse local and regional statutory and voluntary organisations and with some members of Walsall’s minority ethnic communities. The consultations that form part of this study, aim to build on previous research work done on the need for a corporate approach to delivering interpreting, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services. Consultations were held in small group meetings/focus groups, via face to face interviews, or via e-mail. Views were sought on the current situation, the general need for a corporate service, what the communication needs are of minority ethnic groups, of people who are deaf and hard of hearing and of people who are visually impaired. Quality issues were also discussed. 22

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For the purpose of this report, consultation findings are classified as either internal, regarding various individuals groups who are employees of the Council, or external, that include the comments and views of representatives of voluntary and statutory organisations and also comments and views from some local residents.

4.2

Internal Consultations - with Walsall Council Employees

A. First Stop Shop Staff
• The First Stop Shop area in the Civic Centre provides a single point of contact for all council services. All face to face contact will, ultimately, be via the First Stop Shop. When the First Stop Shop becomes fully operational, all other reception points in the location close. Strategies for meeting the communication needs of minority ethnic communities and disabled people are of primary concern to First Stop Shop Staff, as they will be the first point of contact with the public. Consultations with First Stop Shop have taken place via a face to face meeting, and via several telephone messages and e-mail contacts with the Customer Contact Manager and the First Stop Shop Contact Centre Manager. Developing an appropriate communications strategy for the First Stop Shop is a key element in the delivery of Walsall Council’s Corporate Communications Strategy. As a result of this fact, consultations with external organisations, included a question which sought to establish best practice for the First Stop Shop. Currently, staff deal with any customers whose first language is not English or who may have a hearing and/or visual impairment by: 1. Using the Language Line service. 2. Making available forms and information in a variety of languages, as well as in Braille and in large print. 3. Training a proportion of advisors in British Sign Language (BSL) 4. Including a mini loop system • If further community language support is required, a short term contract is being entered into with ALS (Al Tai Linguistic Services), who will provide face to face interpretation. The Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID), the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and local Walsall organisations supporting people with visual impairments and people who are deaf or hard of

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hearing, made the following best practice recommendations for the delivery of an interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcriptions service from the First Stop Shop 1) It would be good to have someone at BSL 2, or at least someone with Level 1 who’s training for BSL 2. It is important to have someone to say, “How can I help?”, and try to arrange an interview appointments etc. 2) It would, probably, be too expensive to have a full time or even a part time BSL interpreter present, given the likely demand – not sufficient to justify half or full time posts. If an interpreter was required, the First Stop Shop staff member would contact whichever BSL interpreter providing agency, Walsall Council was using. 3) The use of videophone is an excellent alternative to a BSL interpreter, so are type talk, text phone or minicom. 4) For service users who are not BSL speakers, it’s important for whoever receives the deaf or hard of hearing person to make sure to speak clearly and not too fast. 5) With regard to supporting visually impaired people, the First Stop Shop needs a range of formats, and needs appropriate equipment to provide appropriate formats, for example, the facility to record on tape, the facility to increase the size of font and a Word to Braille machine (RNIB recommendation). 6) There should also be available a complaints and compliments procedure that is accessible to blind and partially sighted people. 7) There also should be automated systems where people can ring in and get Council information by phone. 8) The RNIB offers specialist advice on preparing staff, developing systems, raising awareness, evaluation and feedback. 9) The Council’s Website can be easily changed to produce accessible information for blind people, via synthetic speech and/or screen enlargement. In this way, forms could be filled in, Council sponsored consultations could be carried out on any subject. By providing e-mail, it would be possible to write to the Council, provide comment, compliments and complaints. 10) “See it right” is the RNIB National Guide for making information accessible. • Options for the delivery of an interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcriptions service from the First Stop Shop Given the nature of First Stop Shop activity, providing customers with a first point of contact for all council service requests and information, the swift response strategy of language line, supported by ALS would seem to cover options.

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With regard to communicating with deaf and hard of hearing people, consideration should be given to obtaining a video conferencing facility and/or typetalk. A BSL interpreter, based in the First Stop Shop, would not be a realistic option at this stage of First Stop Shop development. Were there to be a huge demand for BSL Interpreting, then a review of existing provision would be appropriate. With regard to supporting blind and partially sighted people, the First Stop Shop provides most of the RNIB’s recommended aids to communication. Braille is used by only a small percentage of the blind population, audio tape much more. A facility to record on tape would be useful to supplement font enlargement. Training needs for front line staff within the First Stop Shop 1) All First Stop Shop staff are following accredited training plans and staff development programmes, within a multi disciplined framework, that underpin the authority’s key values, including customer services standards, core competency skills and equality issues. 2) Interpretation and Translation, Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) issues, and Equality are all seen as important parts of the service delivery, in all its formats, and how the service can effectively deliver them. All efforts are being made to accommodate both customer and organisational needs. 3) Training programmes include Equal Opportunities Training, Racial Awareness Training, ‘Disability Confident’, Visual Awareness Training, Deaf Awareness Training and ‘Cultural Differences’. 4) The training plan is a working document and subject to six monthly reviews. With regard to further training that will be of relevance to interpretation and translation, training for staff on how to work effectively with interpreters would be an essential part of an equal access strategy. Areas that should be covered are: How to manage an interview Developing sensitivity about the dynamics of three way communication, for instance, how all parties might feel disempowered in such a situation and the pressures that the community interpreter might be experiencing

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Recording and monitoring information 1) The CRM system logs and captures customer information. It is possible to add ethnicity and equality monitoring, including

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information on customer needs i.e. format types, or client specific need. 2) Monitoring is essential, particularly in the current climate of contracts, service level agreements and output targets. It is also necessary if services are to be responsive to changing needs and if a case needs to be made for increased resources or staff. It will also show up who is using the service and identify gaps in take up

B. Focus Group of Staff from the Policy Team, First Stop Shop, Planning and Equality and Diversity Team
• The group agreed that “Walsall MBC’s current interpretation and translation provision is very much ad hoc, where service teams seek their own methods of provision. Many people are not aware of services, even when services are provided. There are no available statistics on current provision, and variable costs are incurred by individual service areas. In addition, there are no council systems in place to identify volumes or language usage. It was also felt important that documents were translated into the appropriate languages and formats. The group also felt a corporate approach to developing information systems would make it possible, for example, to reach more disabled people, who often are unaware of council services. A database would make it possible to produce Council tax bills in alternative, individually tailored formats. However, it was felt that Data protection, re databases, might be an issue requiring further exploration. The point was also made, re disabled people, that it was essential to reach those people who were not associated with voluntary organisations. A corporate approach would also facilitate a basic system of complaints and compliments, in different formats and languages. Currently, individual departments are responsible for making provision for access. Planning and Transportation has developed a strategy for working with minority ethnic communities and people requiring human aids to communication. This strategy involves usage of Language Line, backed up by a system where staff volunteer to act as interpreters, and are paid £8 per contact, to signpost to Language Line or to Walsall Communication and Translation Service (CATS). BSL signers are accessed via CATS, and a Minicom is also available.

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For the First Stop Shop, It is of immediate priority to look for a service provider to meet the Council’s immediate interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription needs. People visiting the Council for support need to be dealt with there and then. In order to meet the First Stop Shop’s immediate communication needs, the Language Line telephone interpreting service will be used, a temporary contract is to be offered to ALS (Al - Tai Linguistics Services), who would provide face to face interpreters, and there will be forms and information available in a variety of languages as well as Braille and large print.

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With regard to the establishment of a language and communications service, the point was made and agreed by the group, that it was important to develop the service in stages, focussing, firstly, on meeting immediate needs.

C. Focus Group of representatives from Directorates as nominated by Equality Champions
• • The group felt there was a strong need for an interpretation and translation service within a corporate framework. The opinion was strongly expressed that many people, resident in Walsall, who are paying for Walsall Council Services, are not aware of those services, and would benefit from a comprehensive corporate approach to language and communication. They felt that the development of a corporate approach to interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription would be an essential manifestation of the Council’s commitment to recognising diversity and acting upon it. “The difficulty is that everything is piecemeal. There is a need for a central system, even if it’s just for information dissemination”. “There is a need for the corporate service to deliver services to speakers of European as well as Asian languages, and not just produce written translations”. A corporate approach would enable consistent quality monitoring

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D. Focus Group of representatives from the Black and Disabled Employees Support Networks
• The group felt that a comprehensive, corporate interpretation, translation and interpretation service would very much improve what is, at the moment, a very limited community language provision.

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A corporate approach would mean that one member of the Black Employee Network wouldn’t be asked to interpret, when interpreting is not part of the job. That worker felt that there was a danger that the wrong advice may be given. “Currently, Blind services are patchy. Some services are OK, others not. The key issue is alternative formats. There is a need for a corporate approach to alternative formats. The important thing is to know individual requirements, so that everyone who wants alternative formats can have them”. The Council needs to use less jargon, and, also, make documents available on audio tape, Braille and in large print, (has to be relevant font size and boldness). More talking computer packages would be welcome”. “The Council is providing some services appropriately. The Job Shop produces documents on tape and in Braille and large print. The Disabled Employee Meeting Minutes are produced in large print, on tape and translated into Braille at Walsall Disability Advice Line (DIAL)”. New Council policies need to be made available in alternative formats, as one member of the group wasn’t aware of the No Smoking Policy until 3 months after it was introduced. The same member suggested an index of policies be made available to all staff, (Equal Opportunities Policy etc.), so that they can request which policies they’d like and in which alternative formats. The Council must have a central mailing list, as all employees receive a payslip. There can be no reason why a database cannot be produced to say in which format each employee requires information. As most people will have declared their disability to Human Resources, they will not mind others knowing of their requirements, therefore, data protection should not be an issue. “There needs to be a central database of all known blind and partially sighted people. One person could set up the database and do tapes”. “Employees that are blind and partially sighted need to be able to read all Council publications”. “The ‘Talking News’, produced by Walsall Blind Centre, needs to produce an A-Z of Council documents. Each individual could then choose to have whichever one she/he wanted”. “It is important to recognise that it is not just blind and partially sighted people who use tapes, but, also, people with learning disabilities”.

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As far as distribution of information to blind and partially sighted people is concerned, Walsall Blind Society sends out 400-500 tapes per week. Word is, also, spread about by word of mouth. There are, also, 100 people on Weyes register of members. “It’s important to receive information, for example, before meetings take place, in alternative formats. Otherwise, how can a blind and partially sighted person contribute meaningfully”? “Everyone that wants alternative formats should get them”. “Signage should be improved within the Council, including First Stop Shop area. There should be a blind and partially sighted person/people on the Communications Planning Group panel. It is important to consult local people as well as the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

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E. Meeting with Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Adult Services Senior Management Team
• The findings of a short meeting with the Social care and Supported Housing Adult Services Senior Management Team are recorded below: 1. There needs to be a single interpretation and translation service for Walsall to ensure good quality services to minority ethnic communities and disabled people 2. There needs to be 1 BSL Post in Social Care and Supported Housing, to ensure requisite quality and meet particular needs of clients. 3. There is a need for more trained interpreters. 4. Housing services subscribe to Language Line, but usage is low, despite promotion. In 4.5 years of asylum seekers and refugees living in Walsall speaking circa 40 languages, only £500 has been spent on Interpretation and translation etc. 5. There is also a need for interpreting continuity. This is important, as Social Services is delivering joint services with health. 6. One member of the Senior Management Team requested that Patois be not ignored as a language, spoken, particularly, by elderly African Caribbean people.

F. Social Care and Supported Housing Sign Language Interpreting Joint Commissioning Manager, Younger Adults and Disability Services
• Currently, the Joint Commissioning Manager, Younger Adults and Disability Services is conducting a review of Sign Language Interpreting Services within Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing.

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The draft review supports a corporate approach to the delivery of Sign Language Interpreting Services. The draft review highlights 3 reasons why a corporate approach is essential: (a) Lack of a single access point:

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There is no single sign language interpreting agency operating within the borough. Instead a number of agencies are used and they have specific contracts with service providers. Where contracts do not exist, service providers and Deaf residents make their own arrangements in finding freelance interpreters. In the absence of up to date consultation data on Deaf residents’ experiences and views of using interpreting agencies in Walsall, one can only make a number of assumptions based on Deaf people’s experiences in other areas. Deaf people in Walsall probably find it confusing and difficult in knowing how to book an interpreter, or which agency they should use. For many, where they have to make their own arrangements in finding an interpreter, they will find this to be a difficult and fraught task. They will find it difficult to communicate their request for a service provider to book an interpreter and to explain why they need one, as well as asking for them to pay for the interpreting costs. (b) Lack of co-ordination and responsibility

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The fragmented provision of sign language interpreting services across the borough presents a number of problems. 1. The reduced cost-effectiveness associated with allocating interpreters for bookings. A service that deals with all bookings for the area will be more cost effective in allocating interpreters for bookings than would be the case if there was more than one service operating in the area. 2. There is no one agency that has responsibility for leading and developing interpreting services across the borough, which means that the problems associated with fragmented provision of interpreting services and the difficulties that users experience are likely to continue. (c) Lack of monitoring and quality control:

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As using freelance interpreters seems to be the norm in Walsall, this puts users at greater risk of not knowing what quality of service will be provided by the freelance interpreter. It is likely that users will experience variations in standards in using freelance interpreters as well as variations in paying the interpreters’ fees. In short, there is no established monitoring of the quality and consistency of freelance interpreters’ services. This would only be possible if they came through a single interpreting service.

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The three issues described above do suggest the need for a single interpreting service to co-ordinate and respond to all bookings within the borough. This single service model will help to improve user outcomes in terms of: easier and better access to booking an interpreter reduced advance notice required for booking an interpreter due to improved co-ordination and allocation of interpreters Improved communication with the hearing party through higher levels of service provided by the interpreter due to better monitoring and quality control by the interpreting service.

G. Social Care and Supported Housing Sensory Support Team Manager
• • Consultations were conducted with the Sensory Support Team Manager, via telephone and e-mail. The Sensory Support Team produces information for people with visual impairments in the following formats (both duplicated information i.e. service leaflets, and individual information, assessments, letters, etc): Standard print Large print 12p Until May 2005, the Sensory Support Team has produced large print in 16pt Arial (Council recommendations). Documents are now provided in large print, as requested by the user, in theory, without an upper limit, though in practice, beyond about 30 pt it becomes impractical. Administrative staff record individual assessment information on audio tape. -For service and assessment information (not letters). -For duplicated material, external recording and copying is usually arranged. In the past, Walsall Society for the Blind has done it though not for a couple of years. (and in theory Moon) – no one has ever requested Moon

Audio Tape

Braille •

Information on CD Rom/floppy disc could also be made available, but no one has requested this. E-mail could also be used, but there are Council Policy restrictions on e-mail/personal information, so e-mail could only be used for general service information. The Sensory Support Team has its own Braille printer. However, Braille is so infrequently requested, that it is difficult to ensure administrative staff have the skills necessary to manage the printer

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(There has been a long period of relying heavily on temporary administrative staff). • At the moment, the Sensory Support Team does not produce any information specifically to meet the needs for Deaf or hearing impaired people, but should be providing information on CD Rom, DVD and video with subtitles and voiceover. There are also those with additional needs, some with learning disabilities, and those who are deaf blind, in which case, information may have to be given via Human Aids to Communication. Within Social Care and Supported Housing, some of the generally available information in leaflet form, is now available in large print, (16pt), but how individual information is provided is determined by local offices. Use of another agency for Braille transcription would be preferred, because of the problems of maintaining the equipment/skill level. The same applies to the recording of individual tape. Priority issues would be:
1. A 24 hour turn around, ideally use of e-mail for speed, which would

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mean an encryption system
2. One agency to deal with Braille, moon, audio 3. Quality - audio should meet OPSIS guidelines, (OPSIS is the Greek word for sight. OPSIS guidelines are produced by the National

Association for the Education, Training and Support of Blind and Partially Sighted People) and use an indexing system. Quality of recording is important as many of Social Care and Supported Housing service users also have a hearing impairment. • All departments’ systems which record service user data should include as standard 'format needs', in the same way as we record preferred language, so that the preferred format is used without the need for the individual to ask for it every time.

H. Walsall Council Access Officer
• This section includes detail of discussions with Walsall Council’s Access Officer, on interpreting, human aids to communication and transcription issues.

a) INTERPRETING

On Interpreting re use of staff • Bilingual staff can provide a valuable service, but staff are not a substitute for interpreters in some circumstances. The advantage of

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using staff is mainly at frontline level and if the use of an interpreter is not viable. Dangers of using staff 1. Where staff may be fluent in both languages, staff are unlikely to have been trained as interpreters. 2. The skills of bilingual staff may be taken for granted by monolingual staff and demand may become excessive. 3. Lack of monitoring on their standard of language 4. The lack of monitoring of the nature and extent of the use of their services may hide the real need for interpreters. Staff requirements: 1. Interpreting has to be an agreed part of a job description 2. Clear boundary lines need to be established for what may be interpreted 3. Recognition 4. Remuneration where appropriate 5. Training 6. Regular monitoring There needs to be some training for professional workers so they are aware of the ethical aspects and of the need to be protected themselves from the consequences of not using appropriately trained interpreters but of using unqualified people

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Interpreting skills • Essential interpreting skills are: 1. Good language skills in English and the interpreting language 2. The ability to intuit meanings 3. The capacity to adapt immediately to the subject, speaker, public and conference situations 4. Accurate transmission of information may only take place if based on a deep knowledge of both languages, both cultures and the cultural differences involved.
b) INTERPRETING AND D/deaf PEOPLE

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Big D Deaf consider British Sign Language (BSL) as their first preferred language and who consider themselves to be a member of a deaf cultural community. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) of 1995 identifies different auxiliary aids which the Council should provide to meet its service user needs. Specifically mentioned is Sign Language, but there are wider needs.

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Human Aids to Communication are professionals with qualifications in various language and communications skills, who provide communication support to deaf people. This may include Deaf, deafened, hard of hearing and deaf blind people.

Human Aids to Communication may be: 1. 2. 3. 4. British Sign language/English Interpreters Lip speakers Interpreters for Deaf blind people Speech to text reporters

Guidance for Human Aids to Communication • Interpreters for the Council must be suitably qualified and be registered with the Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) as a: 1. Member of the Register of BSL/English Interpreters (MRSLI) 2. Trainee BSL/English Interpreter (TI) 3. Junior Trainee BSL/English Interpreter (JTI) • • Or with The Association of Sign Language Interpreters (ASLI), as either a Licensed or Probationer Sign Language Interpreter. Such interpreters are bound by a professional code of conduct and complaints procedure

The following people are NOT interpreters and should not be used as such: • • People with only BSL training and qualifications (BSL 1 and 2 and NVQ L3 Children, friends and relatives of deaf people

A BSL Interpreter may not be required 1. Where a service provider is a fluent speaker 2. In other settings, simple transactions or encounters may also be possible without the services of an interpreter, provided that the employee or service provider has BSL skills to a sufficient level to ensure that the deaf person is able to understand. BSL interpretation may not be easily available, even if attempts are made to get it in advance. In this case, the service provider will have to consider an alternative method of communication with a deaf person. Some can lip read.

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For people with visual impairments, the range of auxiliary aids or services which it might be reasonable to provide to ensure that services are accessible might include one or more of the following: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. Documents in large or clear print, Moon or Braille; Information on computer diskette; Information on audiotape; Telephone services to supplement other information; Spoken announcements or verbal communication; Audio description services; Large print or tactile maps/plans and three-dimensional models

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4.3

Consultations with service users and external agencies

4.3.1 Consultations with Service Users
A. Individual interviews with three Muslim and one African Caribbean Woman • As users of Council services, their concern was not so much with the corporate element of a translation and interpretation service, but rather that Walsall Council has a service at all. Their views and opinions relate, in general, to the need for and development of an Interpreting and Translation Service in Walsall. All the women felt there was a great need for the Council to develop an Interpretation and Translation Service: “Women lack confidence to take a step out from the Women’s centre because of the language barrier”. “Definite need because most Asian men and women don’t speak or understand English, and language barriers affect confidence. We need more interpreters to break down barriers”. “Definite need, particularly for the refugee languages, including African languages” “Also a need for patois for older people - sometimes there may be misdiagnoses in Mental Health, due to stress distorting language”. • Publicising the service as widely as possible was seen as important, because of language barriers, in particular, via schools – notes on letters to parents, which could be read by children and via mosques, temples and community centres. “As there is no service, at present, families struggle, without adequate language skills. Families and friends do help. How much help can they give? After they have given temporary assistance, the language barrier still remains”. Bringing in family and friends can also be difficult because they may have other commitments, including work. Should they lose days of pay and possibly lose jobs? However, people use family because it doesn’t cost and there’s trust. All women interviewed also felt it was acceptable for the family to make initial contact with particular services. The women did not approve of using children as interpreters, as they will not, necessarily, understand issues or understand the gist of what’s being said. Understanding issues or understanding the gist of what’s

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being said is also true when family adults are used as interpreters, particularly regarding complex issues. Using children as interpreters is, possibly acceptable at schools, where, for example, a young teenager may help a mother and teacher to understand concerns about another school pupil member of the family. When desperate though, people do use children as interpreters. • • Sometimes black people go to community centres like Black Sisters or TORA to ask for support. Sajida works as an interpreter for Universal and Latis companies. She felt that women, particularly Muslim women, prefer female interpreters, because of confidentiality and gender related issues, and often prefer to see the same woman for continuity of service. The other Asian women agree with Sajida re female interpreters. Women were needed as interpreters, more than men, as the language barrier can be greater with women because of cultural constraints. At home, many women are not encouraged to express views and opinions. Some men deliberately repress the voice of women. Women should be involved in a Steering Group to develop Walsall Council’s Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcriptions Service, providing user feedback, identifying gaps and helping to monitor service quality. Many women would like to be interpreters, because of the flexible, part time nature of the role. It fits in with childcare.

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B. Focus Discussion Group with Asian males from the Bangladeshi, Hindu, Muslim, Sikh and Gujarati communities
NEED FOR WALSALL MBC INTERPRETING/TRANSLATION SERVICES

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“This issue of developing a Council run service has been around for 20 years”. “There is a need for an Interpretation and Translation Service. However, it needs to be a proper service”. “Demographic factors support the need for an Interpretation and Translation Service, i.e., the first generation is now reaching retirement age. BME grandkids don’t speak Community Languages well enough to act as interpreters”. “Walsall Council needs to publicise its plans and vision regarding interpretation and translation services”.

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•

“The Council needs to address all communities in Walsall. The Gujarati community is the second largest community, but was missed out in the translation of a Council document. Turkish was there but not Gujarati and Hindi”. “Oral Interpretation is more important than producing lots of translated literature. There is a link to awareness of services, as many people are not aware of services. This needs to be done verbally, and by council officers going out and speaking to community groups, in community settings, with interpreters, if necessary”. “The issue of literacy is significant in BME groups (people being unable to read and/or write in any language), so it is important to use other methods, for example, tapes, talking books or visual aids, as well as interpreters”. “When translations are done, they need to be done correctly to convey the context of the language, i.e., not a word for word translation. Very often translators are academic types who produce academic type translations that are difficult to understand for the non academic. The language used should always be simplified, not academic or too formal. This is very important”. “Walsall Council needs staff who speak BME languages to be the first point of contact in Council service delivery offices”. “There needs to be a language audit (important) within the Council. If staff are going to act as interpreters, they need to agree to do the interpreting work, and if they do, they need training as interpreters and more pay”. “It’s worth using Language Line for immediate interpreting” “Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Gujarati are the 5 main languages in Walsall and should be used where translations are required”. “There needs to be a quality check on the Council’s provision, for example, the First Stop Shop, which claims to serve all the community. Maybe it’s worth doing a mystery shopper exercise with someone going in and claiming to only speak an Asian language?”.

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HOW DO PEOPLE COMMUNICATE NOW WITH THE COUNCIL?

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“Children are used and other family members. This is highly unsatisfactory, as children cannot express feelings of adults”. “As family members are not likely to be qualified as interpreters, (particularly not understanding legal issues), why not use community groups e.g. Gurdwaras, to do interpreting/translating? Why not identify

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and train local community members as interpreters, including Sign Language. Keep money in Walsall instead of spending it outside”. • • “There needs to be a process for when and how to use interpreters”. “Any interpretation and translation service provision also needs to be monitored, reasons for lack of uptake investigated and acted upon”.

A QUALITY SERVICE

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Trained staff need to be in place. Services should be available on demand when requested. The service should be prompt and efficient, adaptable for people at different levels and technical style. The Manor Hospital Link Worker system does not provide an efficient service since it is not available when required. Interpreters must be good English speakers firstly. The Service must be evaluated and monitored regularly. There is an issue of people qualified overseas working as interpreters. They must be qualified in the UK and speak good English, which is often not the case. Confidentiality plus objectivity must be maintained. It may be compromised by using local people. It is very important to have female staff to enable gender match. This consultation exercise needs to speak to service users they will have valuable perspectives, or be aware of limitations. To do it properly need to use interpreters.

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DO YOU SEE THE BME COMMUNITIES PLAYING A ROLE IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE SERVICE?

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“Need to act as a watchdog as well as scrutinising the service”. “Two groups are needed, a Project Steering Group and a Scrutiny Group to review work and direction”. “People who can add value, e.g., proficient community language speakers who have detailed knowledge of the issues, need to be involved”. “Keep BME Alliance informed on progress”!

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• • •

“We need to know what happens after the report is completed, i.e., what the next stages are”? “The report needs to identify delivery options” “Why isn’t there a West Midlands wide service or a Walsall inter agency service (comprising police & PCT etc) under the management of the Borough strategic partnership? This latter option may prove to be more feasible”.

4.3.2 Consultations with external agencies
A. Walsall tPCT Communications Manager • • Walsall tPCT uses Walsall Communication and Translation Service (CATS), which contract is up for retender. CATS is not the ideal service, as it suffers from interpretation gazumping for delivery. Many of CATS interpreters are on the books of other interpretation agencies in the West Midlands. Interpreters choose the best payers and CATS is not one of the best payers. As a result, some interpreters do not turn up. ‘Do not attends’ give a poor impression to clients. Walsall tPCT is prepared to pay more than CATS charges, for written translation. CATS can’t provide written translation at print quality, only at low resolution. The tPCT uses Brasshouse Language Centre and Midland Technical Translators, who charge £95 per 1000 words, proof read and print ready. CATS suffers from a basic lack of infrastructural support. The service was without an administrator for weeks, therefore, the Co-ordinator had to become the Administrator for a considerable time. In consequence, his specific co-ordinating functions could not be fulfilled. The organisation was similarly inconvenienced by holidays and illness. Key interpretation and translation issues for Walsall tPCT: Interpretation Issues: 1. There is a need for a telephone interpreting system 2. Attendance by interpreters must be guaranteed. “There should be financial penalties for non attendance. The NHS is not prepared to support unprofessional interpreters. Complaints have been received, as a result of non-attendance”. 3. Transparent communication –“It’s important that communication between patient and clinician is transparent”.

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4. Interpreters should act as cultural consultants 5. Interpreter punctuality is essential Translation Issues: 1. Written translations must be produced exactly to requirements when required. 2. Translators should be registered with the Institute of Translation and Interpreting . 3. 24 hr turnover for translation is sometimes required – Midland Technical is better for specialist translation. 4. The Translation Agency must provide proof readers. 5. Quality translation should read as if written by a native speaker – literal translation is not quality. Communication with disabled people 1. Support for Deaf and Partially Hearing People - Walsall tPCT buys BSL from Walsall CATS. 2. Support for the Visually impaired – Walsall tPCT buys Braille translations from Walsall DIAL and produces publicity in whatever size is appropriate, according to individual demand - large print and appropriate font. 3. It is essential to meet the individual needs of the patient rather than the needs of the service. Marketing of Walsall tPCT services to minority ethnic communities communities 1. Via community links, the tPCT’s Asian and Afro Caribbean Working Group 2. Videos with voice overs and multi lingual DVDs with different audio streams for Bengalis, etc., with sub titles 3. Production of video brochures 4. Use of local radio Ramadan and of local community leaders to launch FLU campaign 5. Sale of returnable DVDs for 79p, for example, on hip replacements • • • Walsall tPCT currently spends £30000 on interpretation, £2000 on translation. The cost of failed interpretation is high CATS needs to get its act together. Tender aims to use local interpreters.

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B. Walsall Local Neighbourhood Partnerships Co-ordinator • • Local neighbourhood partnerships (LNPs) are the Council’s response to Government criticism over lack of consultation with local people. LNPs cover the whole Borough, each one comprising 2 to 3 electoral wards. Each LNP includes all councillors, representatives from Health, Education (Headteachers), West Midlands Police, and 10 appointed local partners. LNPs meet quarterly and follow council structures and procedures. Each LNP produces a plan for its area re council services. This plan is then used to develop policy. Interpretation and Translation provision enables the targeting of some of Walsall’s socially excluded groups. Some LNPs would need access to interpretation and translation support, to include community languages and BSL Interpreters. A quality service requires qualified interpreters and translators and must provide a flexible response. It is important to build on what’s there already, by employing voluntary sector organisations as service deliverers. The Council should offer support to those organisations to bid for contracts. The Interpretation and Translation Service should be arranged in partnership with Walsall Housing Group, Walsall tPCT and Job Centre Plus, which uses many interpreters and the Benefits Agency. Why not work together? – WBSP is a good starting point. Walsall MBC can be lead organisation

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C. SERCO Ethnic Minority Advisory Group (EMAG) • • • A Corporate Interpretation and Translation Service is long overdue and must include Education Walsall. The advantages of a corporate approach are cost effectiveness, quality control and availability. EMAG uses interpreters to work with asylum seekers on their initial visits to school, for language assessment in the home, for subsequent visits of asylum seeker parents into school and visits to other agencies, e.g., to make free school meal claims.

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•

Strategies currently adopted are to use Walsall CATS, access interpreters via various websites and the use of a member of staff who has basic French and Spanish language skills. Monitoring the quality of services received is by an Education Welfare Officer A best quality interpretation, translation and human aids to communication service should be prompt, sympathetic, professional, trained and cost effective. Quality can be assured by using ‘good quality’ people again – complain against poorer quality to service provider.

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D. Walsall Borough Strategic Partnership (WBSP) Co-ordinator • An interpretation service is essential, that should be an absolute given. “There are no hard to reach communities, only hard to use services”. Priority within all services should be to include reaching the socially excluded, at every possibility. West Midlands Police are a good example of a large organisation grappling with access, information and diversity issues. Ethos of communication and equal access has to be present in every expression of statutory and non statutory partners within Borough. Partners would be interested in the report, as they wish to improve quality of life within the Borough, and communication and equal access are fundamental in reaching marginalised groups. Employ and train local people to be interpreters and signers. Issue of confidentiality re employment etc. of local people is often a ‘red herring’, and an issue raised by white hearing professionals. Confidentiality within the deaf community is an issue for the deaf community to resolve. It’s important to make use of ICT linked communication systems, such as video links, so that signers do not need to be physically present. The WBSP Co-ordinator would like this work to be reflected in the community plan

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E. WEYES • WEYES is the Walsall Consumer Group for Visually Impaired People and seeks to represent all 1500 visually impaired people in Walsall. Twenty to twenty five attend meetings.

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•

“Current Council services are not sufficient for all people. It is Important to make services more usable, more personalised, so that people feel that they can drop in from street to gain advice”. What should the Council should do to improve services for blind and partially sighted people : 1. 2. 3. Signs – the size of font and colour contrast has to be right, blue is not the best colour, yet the Borough has to have blue. The percentage of people reading Braille is small. 10% might know it. There is a tiny percentage of fluent readers. What needs to happen! – as regards individual Council Bills, cassette tapes are possible, bills should be in Point 20, with a small number in Braille. Social Care and Supported Housing has a database of registered blind and partially sighted. Another possibility is communication via e-mail or CD communication on computers using special software There should be a centrally administered coded database. It is important to ask the blind themselves how they would like to be communicated with. A telephone survey of registered blind and partially sighted people could accomplish that. WEYES estimates that family networks support most blind and partially sighted people, by reading documents and dealing with issues for the blind person, that approximately 200 receive information via tapes, 50 via e-mail and 10 use Braille.

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4.

5. 6.

7.

F. Walsall Disability Centre • The Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) estimates that, for every person on the Blind and Partially Sighted Register, there are 3 who aren’t but who should be on the register. Blind and partially sighted people communicate via audio, Braille and moon (like Braille, but arranged in lines, not dots, similar to alphabet – better for older people). Walsall’s’Vision for the Future’ makes no mention of disability, no mention of audio or large print. The Scrutiny Committee, in particular the Deputy Mayor, has asked the Disability Users Forum to evaluate Walsall MBC. The room all disabled people are to use, on the ground floor in the Civic Centre is not disabled friendly, as it’s not easy to access. There is no loop system to say it’s Room 5, nor is Room 5 in large format.

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• • • •

Braille produced by the Council should be assessed for quality. It needs to be assessed by blind users, via voluntary organisations. The Disability Forum of the CEN could be used as a user feedback group. The Disability Forum includes the Deaf People’s Centre, Walsall DIAL, Age Concern, Shopmobility and WEYES. When the Council issues press releases to Express and Star, why not to all Disability groups, in available formats, in public places. The problem blind people have is not being aware of what’s going on. Walsall Blind Centre welcomes 200 over 50s per week and sends its talking newspaper to 750. WEYES reaches 50 people via newsletters, Braille, tape and monthly meetings. Hardest to reach are the young who don’t go to centres, who don’t have a Social Worker and who may be unemployed. The Disability Discrimination Act requires access to key information, in appropriate formats. Vital information is, for example: 1. 2. 3. 4. Whether streets are being shut down, or scaffolding erected An essential guide to Council services Information that advertises the Council and its activities Information on the Council Tax

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There is a need to consult with disabled groups about the First Stop Shop Stop. No one has trialled First Stop Shop signs. The opening hours sign had Braille below rather than above, thus making the sign difficult to read, due to the angle of the hand. There should have been consultation before, with blind and partially sighted groups, who would do research within the Council. DIAL produces leaflets for the Council in Braille. 14 point font size would reach most people without serious impairment. It is essential that publications should be jargon free. As the majority of people over 55 suffer from deteriorating sight, all Council publications should be produced in large format. Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) guidelines for printed leaflets should be followed.

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• • • • •

80% of blind and partially sighted people want audio, only 5% want Braille. Walsall Council must get feedback from the people who know. It is essential to have key information in appropriate formats. There needs to be a database to provide basic contact information. Walsall Council Website is important in letting service users know what’s going on.

G. Walsall Society for the Blind • Walsall Society for the Blind has a database for blind and partially sighted people. The Blind Centre knows the preferred format for each blind person on the database. Walsall Society for the Blind Works closely with the Council’s Social Services Department. The Society for the Blind distributes a ‘Talking News’ to 750 blind people, free of charge, via the Post office. The overall annual cost of the ‘Talking News’ is £20000, £2000 of which amount is from Walsall Council. Walsall Society for the Blind has a Service Level Agreement, with Walsall Council, to run a Day Centre. The Council invests one quarter of the revenue cost of the Day Centre. The remaining three quarters comes from donations and from a menu of charities. Included in ‘Talking News’ is, for example, information re scaffolding in town centres, chemists opening times, etc. Seven hundred and fifty blind and partially sighted people have chosen to take tapes. Walsall Council writes to blind people, assuming they can read ordinary size fonts. The suggested strategy is that large fonts are used, such as Arial 14, at the very least. Walsall Society for the Blind has a Braille machine and a full time braillist. The Manager of Walsall Society for the Blind feels that Walsall Council is not aware of the services provided by Blind Centre. There is no corporate Council strategy. The Manager of Walsall Society for the Blind feels that the Council’s approach is inconsistent and demonstrates a lack of awareness of the needs of blind people.

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•

The Blind Centre is the supplier of living aids, such as talking watches, clocks, special devices to indicate when water is boiling (liquid level indicators). The Blind Centre has e-mail – speech package software. There is also a Deaf Blind group at the Centre, which uses the deaf blind manual alphabet. People are referred from Social Services and the Manor to Walsall Society for the Blind. Referrals are informed about the aids people can get. If help with benefits is required, they are referred to the Benefits Agency. Help with form filling and support to live independently are also given.

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H. Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) • • • RNIB is the national service for supporting blind and partially sighted. RNIB provides alternative formats via its Peterborough branch. There is a need for organisations, including local authorities, to provide continual publicity, on all documents for public consumption, that alternative formats are available to blind and partially sighted people, those with dyslexia (use of different colours or audio tape), aphasia (loss of language due to stroke) and dyspraxia (mixing up of words). There should be customer information systems to record preferred format. There are two main issues: 1. Raising awareness that alternative formats are available 2. Formats themselves – people are dependent on their preferred format. Send out bills in appropriate format. • • Increasingly, in other sectors, bills are being e-mailed. If banks and Orange can do it for millions, then why not a local authority. All that is required is the will and the time. It’s better to adopt a 3 or 5 year plan rather than using the excuse that too much work would be involved. With regard to the establishment of a First Stop Shop in Walsall Council, a First Stop Shop facility needs the appropriate equipment to deliver a range of formats, for example, the facility to record on tape, the facility to increase size of format, on request, and a Word to Braille. Blind and partially sighted people should have access to a complaints and compliments procedure. 47

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Helpful, would also be, automated systems, where people can ring in and get Council information by phone. RNIB offers specialist advice on preparing staff, developing systems, raising awareness, evaluation and feedback. The Walsall Council Website can be easily changed to produce accessible information for blind and partially sighted people, via synthetic speech and/or screen enlargement. In this way, forms could be filled in, Council sponsored consultations could be carried out on any subject. By providing e-mail, it would be possible to write to the Council, provide comment, compliments and complaints. “See it Right” is the National Guide for making information accessible.

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I. Walsall Deaf People’s Centre • Major issues for the Deaf Centre are: 1. 2. • Supporting the community Providing a service

Deaf People need human aids to communication, that is, British Sign Language (BSL) interpreters and lip speakers. The number of BSL Interpreters is limited. The First Stop Shop needs Deaf Awareness Training and a videophone link, to call up an interpreter on screen, who provides English translation. The Deaf People’s Centre has community Interpreters who should be available when required. The Deaf People’s Centre doesn’t have a contract with the Local Authority, c.f. Birmingham Institute for the Deaf that has a contract with Birmingham City Council. The Deaf People’s Centre Co-ordinator ensures quality monitoring. It is cheaper to hire interpreters via the Deaf People’s Centre than to get interpreters from outside the Borough. A 2 hr session with the Royal Institute for the Deaf (RNID) is £120 including travel. With the Deaf Centre, it would be £90, less overheads, an example of a local not for profit versus national agency. Too much taxpayer’s money leaves Walsall for services. That money could be used to strengthen local infrastructure. 48

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The Deaf People’s Centre would employ 1 full time and 1 part time BSL interpreter, if needed. The Deaf People’s Centre’s interpreters would be for a 2 hrs minimum, not 3 hrs, as is usual with freelance interpreters. The Deaf People’s Centre can offer training in BSL up to NVQ Level 4. BSL Interpreter Level 4 is the National Standard, but the British Deaf Association and the Deaf People’s Centre offer a minimum Level 3 working towards NVQ level 4. Not all work requires NVQ Level 4, and there are not enough Level 4s around to meet needs. A user’s forum could provide a benchmark of quality. Deaf people sometimes want an independent interpreter. The Deaf People’s Centre can be the first point of contact. For the First Stop Shop, - Training in Communication and Equalities for Deaf people, a 10 hr Council for the Advancement of Communication with Deaf People (CACDP) training programme, plus training in communication tactics, e.g., to account for differing degrees of deafness. Walsall Deaf People’s Centre delivers a survival BSL signing training course for Wolverhampton City Council employees. The course totals 20 hours, over 10 wks x 2hrs per week A fluent BSL2 could deliver an adequate service, in specific situations, with further support. Someone in every Council Dept should have BSL 2. An Induction Loop, videophone and BSL 1 or 2, are basic elements at the front desk. Reception BSL 1 is a 30 week course. The Deaf People’s Centre has developed a half time BSL post, part funded by Walsall Council, and will make the signer available to the First Stop Shop. The Deaf People’s Centre is In contact with 200-250 BSL users and 500-600 with differing degrees of hearing loss. The RNID suggests that 18.5% of people in Walsall 40-50000 may suffer differing degrees of hearing loss.

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Walsall MBC could market the First Stop Shop via working with the Deaf People’s Centre, e.g., BSL video/CD Rom with captions and sub titles to show what Walsall MBC is offering, in partnership. There needs to be a partnership between Walsall Council and the Deaf People’s Centre. The Deaf People’s Centre has a contract with Walsall Housing Group, to provide BSL interpreters and to provide frontline training for staff, how they produce newsletter, how to produce articles for the deaf.

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J. Walsall Disability Centre • There is a need for a member of staff to be on hand in the First Stop Shop with BSL 2, to be able to acknowledge and offer basic communication, dealing with initial enquiries, making appointments, providing leaflets etc. There is a need for deaf awareness training, blind awareness training and training in learning disabilities and on disability as a whole, particularly for First Stop Shop front of house staff. A Possible Strategy for front of house staff – Ask if client has specific communication needs. Develop an enquiry sheet which would include basic contact details, ethnic monitoring and communications needs, with tick box options such as BSL, Makaton, Braille, Audio Loop System (Fixed loop, Briefcase Loop, portable loop, pictograms, e mail, fax, minicom (should be one at First Stop Shop), landline texting facilities, plus different community languages.. In order to contact deaf people, contact through deaf organisations and the Social Care and Supported Housing Sensory Impairment Team.

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K. Walsall College of Arts and Technology (WALCAT) • • WALCAT offers learning support to seventy Deaf and Deaf Blind people, one of the largest units in UK. The staffing complement includes the Curriculum Leader and one other full time interpreter, plus 20 part time interpreters. The Curriculum Leader is a Qualified Interpreter on National Register (MRSLI, NVQ L4). There is one other fully qualified interpreter. All the part time Interpreters have to be qualified to NVQ L3 in both English and BSL. It is important when developing a Communication Strategy to have interpreters that are registered with the CACDP Registration Panel. There are no lip speakers working at WALCAT. If required, lip speakers are obtained from CACDP, which holds register of lip speakers.

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Useful ideas to meet communication needs of the First Stop Shop 1) An In house BSL interpreter should be available at specific times or all day. 2) Use BSL video to advertise interpreters and other council information. 3) Produce clear leaflets, not jargon 4) Deaf community should be asked what they want, inc deaf professionals, via an informal forum 5) Only a minority use the Deaf People’s Centre, it’s hard to identify who, grassroots, elderly deaf, deaf professionals. 6) Staff training – deaf awareness and community tactics training (rephrasing, writing down, how to work with interpreters), for all front of house staff. WALCAT would be happy to deliver the accredited CACDP Level 1 Cert in Deaf Awareness. 7) It is vitally important to ensure the highest quality of interpretation – interpreters should be on the National Register (150 fully qualified nationally) 8) It is important to take note of the fact that there are some interpreters who have been employed for many years as interpreters, but who are unqualified. It is important to set the highest standards. 9) If full time BSL interpreters were to be employed, it is important that they are offered a competitive salary, to attract the best candidates. A Full Time NVQ Level 4 Qualified MRLSI member should command a salary of £24 –30 000, including as desirable, Deaf Blind manual skills (finger spelling skills) and ‘Hands On’, where deaf person has Ushers Syndrome (a condition which symptoms are serious hearing loss and progressive loss of vision), and Visual Frame, used by deaf people with Ushers before the condition has become advanced. A Trainee Interpreter should command a salary of £20 – 24000 and a Junior Trainee Interpreter £18-20000. 10) It is also useful to have a backup from freelance agencies. Possible backup agencies are: a. Communication Plus – Birmingham or Wolverhampton Communication Plus is a Royal Association for Deaf People support database/directory for people/agencies seeking support to communicate with deaf people. The database includes Qualified BSL Interpreters, Lip speakers, Note takers, Deaf blind Interpreters, Speech to Text Reporting (providing a verbatim transcription of a meeting or conference using Palantype, Stenograph) Website: www.royaldeaf.org.uk. b. Just Communication - Redditch Just Communication provides Sign Language Services Website: www.justcommunication.co.uk 51

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c. Birmingham Institute for the Deaf Birmingham Institute for the Deaf Interpreting covers the following languages/services: British Sign Language Sign Supported English Deaf blind Interpreting Lip speaking Note-taking Speech to Text Reporting Remote Video Telephone Interpreting The services can be used in all situations where communicating with a Deaf person is required, some of these include: Appointments Education Job interviews and training courses Meetings Conferences Religious services Community events Legal work 11) It would also be useful for the First Stop Shop to compile a list of part time lip speakers – CACDP Qualified. It would probably not be feasible to employ a full time lip speaker, due to a likely insufficient demand. Sometimes lip speakers are used in conferences. 12) Deaf Blind – Deaf Blind People are usually supported by Social Services and Community Transport. Often there are communicator guides who should have a minimum NVQ L3 Qualification in Communication and Guiding Deaf Blind People – CACDP. L. Royal National Institute for the Deaf (RNID) Birmingham • RNID delivers communication support services, in the West Midlands, via Wolverhampton Communication Service Unit (CSU). Services provided include: Sign Language Interpreting; Lip speaking; Deaf blind Interpreting; Speech-to-Text Transcription and Note taking. Wolverhampton CSU has a list of qualified interpreters, who are all MRSLI NVQ Level 4s or training to achieve Level 4. Video interpreting is acceptable for short interviews, a maximum of 30 minutes.

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•

For the First Stop Shop requirements, the following recommendations were made: a) There should be Deaf Awareness Training for all staff. b) It would be good to have someone at BSL 2 or at least someone with Level 1 who is training for Level 2. It is important to have someone to say, “How can I help?”, and try to arrange interview appointments etc. c) It’s not cost effective to have a full time BSL interpreter present d) The use of a videophone is an excellent alternative or typetalk, text phone or minicom. e) For non BSL speakers, follow general communication policy, tips to communicate. People rely on lip reading or lip speaking. Speak clearly, not too fast.

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THE RNID estimates that there are 5 million in the UK with hearing difficulties - only 50,000 are BSL users (1%) It is important to make provision for all people who have hearing difficulties. For people that are hard of hearing, lip-reading and writing down are recommended. People who are hard of hearing are classified into two major groups. Firstly, profoundly deaf people who communicate via BSL, and, secondly, those that are described as hard of hearing, who communicate via writing down and gesture. Most hard of hearing have some speech. People who are deafened, rely on written English. Speech to text is typing and what has been typed comes up on an LCD screen.

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Quality Assurance (Deaf) • • • RNID runs an auditing service, “Louder than Words”. There is a “Louder than Words” Charter Mark that can be worked towards. As part of assuring quality, Interpreter criteria must be checked, including qualifications, criminal register, professional indemnity insurance, codes of conduct etc. In Walsall there should be a Deaf Users Council to advise on service quality for deaf people. There are not enough interpreters to go round – ‘Sign solutions’ has strong links with CPS.

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•

In the UK, there are a few hundred BSL interpreters for a population of 60-70000 BSL users.

4.4

Summary of Key Findings

4.4.1 User perspective
A. Minority ethnic community issues: Interpretation Services • Interpretation services should employ qualified interpreters who speak good English, provide a prompt service, be gender appropriate, not use children as interpreters and provide the full range of languages required.

Translation • The value of written translation as a means of communication was questioned, as many people in the different minority ethnic communities are literate or semi literate, and, as a result, important information will not reach them. In this way, socially excluded groups will continue to be excluded. Alternatives to translation would be videos and tapes and oral communication via Council officers who would visit minority ethnic groups, such as mosques, temples, etc., with interpreters, to pass on information.

Awareness of Council services The key point here is that the language barrier prevents awareness of services, and if translation misses the most socially excluded groups such as Mirpuris and Sylhetis, the Council is obliged to make use of alternative methods to publicise Council Services, such as videos, tapes and visits by Council officers to minority ethnic community social and religious venues. User involvement • One of the key issues raised was the importance of involving minority ethnic communities in monitoring service quality and shaping future service development

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B. Disability issues: Blind and partially sighted people • The key issues for blind and partially sighted people are the availability of a sufficient range of alternative formats, whether Braille, Moon, large print or tape and the awareness that alternative formats are available. There is a need for organisations, including councils, to provide continual publicity, on all documents for public consumption, that alternative formats are available to blind and partially sighted people. Where registers of blind and partially sighted people are kept, it should be possible to find out a person’s preferred format, if that person is willing to divulge the information.

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Deaf and Hearing Impaired People • The key issue is ensuring appropriate means of communication are available to meet the varied communication needs of deaf and hearing impaired people. Some use BSL as their first form of communication, either via interpreters, or via video tape or CD, deafened people may lip read and rely on a good knowledge of English to guess the words they miss or communicate in written form, whether on paper, computer, or displayed on a large screen. Also of key importance is raising awareness that appropriate means of communication are available.

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4.4.2 Walsall Council Staff Perspective
• All staff consulted favoured the development of a corporate approach to the delivery of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcriptions services. The advantages of a corporate approach are professionalism, cost effectiveness, service monitoring, quality control and availability. The corporate approach will also provide a single access point, coordination and responsibility. Specifically, the service needs to be prompt, sympathetic, professional, accurate, gender specific and offering the requisite range of languages. The development of a corporate approach to interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription would be an essential manifestation of the Council’s commitment to recognising diversity and acting upon it. A comprehensive corporate approach to language and communication will enable many people who are paying for Walsall Council Services,

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who, currently, are unaware of those services, to access the support they may need. • A corporate approach to developing information systems would make it possible, for example, to reach more disabled people, who often are unaware of council services. A database would make it possible to produce Council tax bills in alternative, individually tailored formats. A comprehensive, corporate interpretation, translation and interpretation service would very much improve what is, at the moment, a very limited community language provision.

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5.0 Quality and Quality Control of the Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services
5.1
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A Quality Service
A quality service is one that is "meeting the needs and expectations of clients." Juran Agencies and service users consulted during this study have defined ‘quality’ in their terms:

5.1.1 Quality interpretation from a service user perspective • Minority ethnic community users of Walsall Council services, consulted during the term of this study have suggested the following essential requirements of any high quality interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription service. A high quality service should: 1) Use properly trained and experienced interpreters 2) Select appropriate interpreters according to language/dialect, gender 3) Be able to provide interpreters with specific specialisms, e.g. knowledge of Social Work issues, including assessment processes, mental health issues and fostering and adoption services 4) Be cost effective 5) React swiftly, be reliable and punctual 6) Be available 24/7 7) Be confidential and objective 8) Be available on demand 9) Be accurate 10) Be evaluated and monitored regularly 11) Consult with service users re quality and development From a disability perspective, agencies and individuals consulted, identified aspects of quality are listed below: 1. Frontline staff are deaf aware. 2. Appropriate means of communication are available. 3. The attitude of staff is very important. They must be patient. Any hint of anger/frustration and the deaf person is likely to leave and make a complaint. 4. Full access to information is needed, how to produce information for deaf and hard of hearing people. 5. BSL qualifications – it is inappropriate to use staff to interpret, apart from initial greetings, find out what they want etc. BSL Level 2 is not enough to act as an interpreter.

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6. It is important for Walsall Council to develop a communication mechanism with members of Walsall’s Deaf Community, to identify best ways to communicate. 7. It is important to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) – “DDA Guide for Service Providers” 8. Essential is Disability Awareness Training, helping staff feel confident about welcoming people with various disabilities. 9. It is important to develop links with local organisations who can advise about service delivery and quality. • EITI, a telephone interpretation service, surveyed 140 of its clients on quality issues. 60% rated quality assurance and reliability as the most important quality factor. 21% rated cost/best value as most important and 19% ease of access and reliability.

5.1.2 Use/non use of family members and in-house staff as interpreters • Many providers of services are at a loss when faced with clients who are unable to speak English. The most common response in situations where an interpreter is needed is to: 1) Ask a family member, frequently a child 2) Cast around for a staff member who may speak the same language • These solutions are inappropriate, can be dangerous and should not be used. Indeed, in some cases, where abuse or coercion is suspected, for example, the professional worker may feel it is in the client’s best interests, and, therefore, his/her professional responsibility to insist on using an independent trained interpreter, even when the client has expressed a preference for using a friend or family member. There are many issues that a client may be unwilling or unable to disclose in front of a friend, partner or family member. In such cases, it will be necessary to ask the friend or family member to wait outside. The use of family members, friends etc. and bi lingual members of staff are also inappropriate, because: 1. Interpreting is a skill, which needs to be learned and developed; people who speak more than one language do not automatically have this skill; The level of proficiency in English of the person interpreting may not be much better than the client’s; Where use of bi lingual staff members is concerned, staff members may not have sufficient depth of community language skills to interpret beyond the superficial; Accurate communication is not guaranteed; Confidentiality is compromised; Children do not usually have the necessary vocabulary or understanding of the relevant concepts and are likely to be out 58

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7. 8.

9. 10.

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of their depth and unable to transmit information fully or correctly; It could be embarrassing, even traumatic, for family members, especially parents and children to share personal details; It is undermining of normal power dynamics between parent and child, creating dependency of parents on children, rather than vice versa; Relatives may have their own agenda in relation to the client, which could interfere with accurate information transfer; Using bilingual staff to interpret means that they cannot get on with the job they were employed to do; this can lead to resentment and pressure in all directions and a conflict of interest; It is wasteful of time and resources making ad hoc arrangements, as particular needs arise, rather than setting up a system that anticipates need and meets demand consistently.

NB.

Perfectly acceptable is a family member/friend accompanying a client to a meeting, the way any person would support a family member, and introducing the client and making the initial link, but not acting as an interpreter. Similarly acceptable would be a bi lingual receptionist welcoming etc. the client in a community language, including BSL, but not continuing to interpret for the client. Adult family members and friends should only be used where the customer makes this preference, after being offered the option of professional interpreting support

5.1.3 Benefits of using a professional interpreter 1) Effective communication – professional interpreters are trained in interpreting techniques, managing three – way communication and the interview process 2) Accurate communication – Interpreters are trained in specialist terminology and understand the agencies they work in. 3) Confidence and trust – interpreters are bound by a code of practice that ensures confidentiality, impartiality and the maintenance of professional boundaries. 4) User empowerment – clients get more complete information, including an insight into how the system works and are, therefore, more efficient users of services, including using appointment systems appropriately and defaulting less. 5) Active participation – service users are better able to make informed choices and, therefore, take more responsibility for their own care, learning, health, medication, environment etc. 6) Culturally sensitive services – interpreters can be a useful source of cultural background information. As well as facilitating service delivery to individual clients, this feedback can be used to influence overall service planning and provision.

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7) Quality – service delivery is more appropriate, equitable and effective. 8) Efficiency and cost effectiveness – staff and services will not be used inappropriately and wastefully. 5.1.3 Quality Translation • Many organisations think that the first sign of a good equalities policy is the volume of material translated. Scarce resources are often wasted on translated material that is not effective. Simply translating more information is not necessarily the answer. Written information may not always be the best way of reaching the target audience. For example: 1. It is not always the most effective way of engaging people’s attention 2. It may not reach those who are unfamiliar with the structures and services that exist in the host community 3. Literacy levels in some communities are low, e.g., Mirpuris and Sylhetis, and, 4. The written word is often not accessible to sign language users. • By building up a detailed profile of the linguistic needs of local communities, and by consulting closely with them it should be possible to produce materials that are relevant, appropriate and accessible to the widest possible Research has shown that audio or videotapes are a popular choice amongst minority ethnic groups for conveying health promotion messages (The Health Education Authority’s Expert Working Group, 1998). The translation of lengthy documents, such as annual reports and strategic plans, into community languages, is likely to be a costly and wasteful exercise. Users from minority ethnic communities may be more effectively reached through alternative methods, such as user groups, or consultation forums, in community settings, such as mosques, temples, etc., and community centres, or through use of tapes and videos, local radio stations. Members of a focus group with Walsall minority ethnic communities, to discuss issues around the establishment of an interpreting and translation service, were of the view that: “Oral Interpretation is more important than producing lots of translated literature. There is a link to awareness of services, as many people are not aware of services. This needs to be done verbally, and by council officers going out and speaking to community groups, in community settings, with interpreters, if necessary”.

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“The issue of literacy is significant in BME groups (people being unable to read and/or write in any language), so it is important to use other methods, for example, tapes, talking books or visual aids, as well as interpreters”. “When translations are done, they need to be done correctly to convey the context of the language, i.e., not a word for word translation. Very often translators are academic types who produce academic type translations”.

5.2

Quality Control

5.2.1 Monitoring • The issue of the need for and importance of monitoring and quality control is illustrated by a current review of Walsall Council’s Sign Language Interpreting Service, which found that the use of freelance BSL interpreters was the norm in Walsall. The use of freelance BSL interpreters puts users at greater risk of not knowing what quality of service will be provided by the freelance interpreter. “It is likely that users will experience variations in standards in using freelance interpreters as well as variations in paying the interpreters’ fees. In short, there is no established monitoring of the quality and consistency of freelance interpreters’ services. This would only be possible if they came through a single interpreting service” (Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Sign Language Interpreting Service Review 2005) Monitoring is essential, particularly in the current climate of contracts, service level agreements and output targets. It is also necessary if services are to be responsive to changing needs and if a case needs to be made for increased resources or staff. It will also show up who is using the service and identify gaps in take up. Basic statistics can be compiled from the daily log and more detailed information can be collated from booking forms and client record sheets. Booking forms should contain such basic information as: 1. The clients language and gender 2. Formats required 3. Response times and the department using the service.

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5.2.2 Best Practice Checklist • The following checklist is designed to assist Walsall Council in developing policies, structures, practices and procedures that support the corporate provision of interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription services:

BEST PRACTICE IN POLICY DEVELOPMENT

Does Walsall Council have: A mission statement that articulates its principles, rationale and values for providing a corporate interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription service. Policies, procedures and fiscal planning to ensure the provision of interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription services. Policies and procedures regarding the translation of Council documents into languages and formats that meet the communication needs of Walsall’s minority ethnic communities and disabled communities. Policies and procedures to evaluate the quality and appropriateness of interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription services. Policies and procedures to periodically evaluate service user and staff satisfaction with the interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services that are provided. Policies and resources that support community outreach initiatives to people with communication difficulties. Policies and procedures to periodically review the current and emergent demographic trends for the geographic area served, in order to determine interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services that are provided.
BEST PRACTICE IN DEVELOPMENT AND DELIVERY

Identify principal feedback mechanisms to be applied in service delivery monitoring. Ensure data/information collection systems are in place to gather key planning information to inform future development. Ensure relevant Corporate policies and service objectives are communicated to and understood by all providers.

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Promote the understanding of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services throughout the organisation and to relevant external partners. Monitor day-to-day delivery to fine tune service delivery in response to feedback mechanisms. Report back on performance (suitability, adequacy and effectiveness).
BEST PRACTICE IN EVALUATION

Ensure that Key Performance Standards and measures for the interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription service have been developed and Key Performance Indicators are set. Verify that the Key Performance Indicators identified, address key corporate objectives and relate to the Key Performance Standards. Monitor delivery to ensure that Corporate objectives and Key performance Standards are achieved. Assess the level to which key Performance Indicators have been achieved. Establish day to day operational systems for capturing evaluation data without the need for additional collection methodologies whenever possible. Determine the frequency of formal evaluation programmes.
BEST PRACTICE IN SUPPORTING THE SERVICE

Ensure a training plan is in place which enables staff delivering interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services to be suitably skilled in appropriate work practices, including evaluation. Ensure staff are appropriately inducted and orientated regarding corporate interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription policies. Ensure finance systems can accurately record expenditure for all interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services.

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6.0 Benchmarking with other authorities/agencies
6.1
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Definition of Benchmarking
There are numerous definitions of benchmarking, but essentially it involves learning, sharing information and adopting best practices to bring about improvements in performance. So, at its simplest, benchmarking means improving oneself by learning from others. “If I have seen further, it’s through standing on the shoulders of giants”. Isaac Newton

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Scope of this Benchmarking Exercise
This section of the Report includes the findings of 4 separate benchmarking exercises: 1. Benchmarking other Social Services Departments’ Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services, in Birmingham and the Black Country. 2. Benchmarking other Local Authorities Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services in the West Midlands and South Staffordshire 3. Benchmarking the Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services of a non Local Authority Agency, in Walsall 4. Benchmarking provision of Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services by providers of those services

1. Benchmarking Birmingham and Black Country Social Services Departments’ Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services.
• Walsall Social Services Methods of Communication Research Project sought to benchmark other Social Services Departments in Birmingham and the Black Country Metropolitan Boroughs of Wolverhampton and Sandwell. Each authority was asked about what translation and interpreting and human aids to communication and transcription services were available, whether provided internally or externally, whether there is a confidentially policy or statement, what costs are, 24 hour/out of hours availability and turnaround/response times.

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All the departments surveyed offered interpreters for various spoken languages, mostly South Asian languages, but others were catered for on request. Formats for translations and transcriptions include mainly minority ethnic languages, Braille and large print. Sandwell and Wolverhampton also offer translations in BSL and formats for people with learning disabilities, mainly Change Picture Bank. Of the three Social Services Departments: 1) Birmingham Social Services accessed communications support, externally, via the Brasshouse Language Centre, in Birmingham, and, occasionally, via other agencies for emergency service and/or 24 hr cover. Services accessed are minority ethnic languages, Braille, large print, Moon and other symbols. Costs detailed below are those paid to external interpretation and translation agencies. Interpreting costs - £35 per hour (for a minimum of 2 hours Translation costs - £125 per 1000 words (printed ethnic minority languages) 2) Sandwell Social Services has an internal interpreting and translation system, providing services in 5 Asian languages – Arabic, Bengali, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. Human aids to communication and transcriptions support was provided, via the Brasshouse Centre or via the Deaf Resource Centre. Support offered includes taped summary translations of documents, Braille, audio tape, large print, BSL and Change Picture Bank to support people with learning difficulties. Interpreting costs - £20 per hour (for a minimum of 1 hour Translation costs - £125 per 1000 words (printed ethnic minority languages) Audio tapes (English) - £32.80 per 15 minutes, 30p per extra tape + postage and packaging Braille - £1.99 per A4 page, 10p per extra copy 3) Wolverhampton Social Services Department employs 3 in house interpreters, and also has a contract with a city wide joint health and social care interpreting service. Braille and large print are produced internally, minority community language interpretation, internally and externally and minority communication language translations externally. Translation costs - £125 - £150 per 1000 words (printed ethnic minority languages)

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The Walsall Social Services researcher identified various elements of good practice 1) Several authorities have a standard statement in both English and in various ethnic minority languages on all their leaflets. 2) Some authorities also have master copies of all public information printed in Braille, large print and ethnic minority languages, which are copied on request. 3) Wolverhampton and Sandwell recommend face to face meetings between service users and translators to discuss specific issues or documents.

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The researcher concluded that there are many ways to meet the translation and interpreting needs of a local authority – private company, contracts can be developed with local agencies or resources could be developed in house.

2. Benchmarking other Local Authorities Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services in the West Midlands and South Staffordshire
• The benchmarking of interpretation and translation agencies, in other councils, was conducted by the Manager of the First Stop Shop Contact Centre, who was researching possible strategies for meeting the interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcriptions needs of the First Stop Shop and the Contact Centre. This research case study includes policies adopted by 5 authorities, Birmingham, Dudley, Sandwell, Cannock, Wolverhampton and Solihull.

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1. Birmingham City Council • Birmingham City Council has a full time, in house system, Brasshouse Centre,covering the main languages – Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Mirpuri and Bengali. For other languages, City Council Directorates use agencies or casual interpreters, that are contacted by phone and used on an appointment only basis, e.g., Farsi, Arabic etc. Birmingham City Council uses the Birmingham Institute for the Deaf to provide BSL support to deaf people.

2. Dudley Council • Dudley Council has a full time interpreting service, that includes 6 full time interpreters, covering Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. There is also an in house BSL interpreter. For other languages, such as refugee languages, they use a range of service providers, on an appointment basis. When interpreters are not being used as interpreters, they are used as translators. The scheme co-

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ordinator identified a need for in house interpreters that cover Albanian and Turkish. 3. Sandwell Council • • Sandwell Council has adopted a Corporate Bilingual Scheme which is based on using bilingual or multilingual personnel as interpreters The aim of this scheme is to formalise provision of interpretation services, in response to identified customer needs, using, recognising and rewarding the additional skills of the Council’s employees. Employees covered by this scheme are reimbursed at a rate of £10 per call, up to a maximum of £35 per month for those who are bilingual, and £40 per month for those who are recognised as multilingual interpreters. Sandwell Council also uses the services of an external company. For languages that they can’t cover in house, the authority uses Language Line. Language Line provides a telephone interpreting service, where all transactions are completed over the telephone. The user has his or her own Identity Number and the service is chargeable. The service is available 24 hours, 365 days a year, in 150 languages and connects the client to a qualified interpreter in seconds. The service can be used any time of day, from any location, using any type of telephone. No special equipment is needed. An initial language barrier can be quickly and effectively removed. Language Line is especially suitable for: 1) Making and receiving phone calls where language support is required 2) 'First contact' scenarios where the non-English speaker is with you 3) Short language-assisted conversations (lasting up to 20 minutes) 4) Routine enquiries, bookings or cancellations 5) Urgent, emergency or unexpected language-impeded scenarios Language Line has frequent and infrequent user options. and prices start from £2.25 to £3.25 per minute, with an additional annual management charge of either £295 for the infrequent user package or £575 for the frequent user.

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4. Cannock Council only uses Language Line 5. Wolverhampton City Council • Wolverhampton City Council is looking to provide a ‘One Stop Shop’ interpretation service, which will provide interpreters for several

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different requirements. Unlike private companies who are out to make a profit, this organisation would be non profitable and therefore ideal for local authorities to utilise and maintain together. 6. Solihull • Solihull Council uses Language Line. Language Line can be very expensive if a lengthy call has to be made and unable to provide for the full extent of the needs of a local council. They are able to offer a face to face service, which in some cases would be imperative, but that is only done on an appointment basis and occasionally the need for immediate face to face interpretation would be required, hence the need for Language Line.

7. Asylum Seekers • Asylum seekers speaking some 40 languages live in Walsall. There is no formal interpretation service, but they do have a pool of volunteers which they can call upon if necessary. Where no volunteers are available, private agencies are used.

Conclusions • The following conclusions were drawn that : 1) There is a need for authorities to be proactive in understanding local community issues, to allow equal opportunities and to be fair and non-discriminatory at all levels. 2) Provision of a language interpretation service must have a development programme and seek to progress links with all minority ethnic groups within the Borough. This will allow increased access to public services, by ethnic minority groups and non English speaking communities, and also allow people access to information regarding social services, employment, housing, education and other council business. 3) It is important to note when setting up a new interpretation and translation service, that key issues to be considered are confidentiality, quality of the service offered and continuous training for personnel. 4) Due to increase in diversity of ethnic minority and non English speaking communities within Walsall, providing a comprehensive translation service becomes more difficult, but not impossible.

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Recommendations • Based on research conducted, the First Stop Shop Manager recommended that: 1) To provide a translation and interpretation service offering face to face, over the telephone, or appointment options, Walsall Council could utilise existing staff, already employed within the council, who are already bilingual or multi lingual, as an in house team, to cover the five mostly requested languages in Walsall. For any other requirements that cannot be covered internally, the authority can use external companies like Language Line, which can be called upon at any time, as and when the need arises. 2) It would be advantageous to find out which Council employees speak a second language and find out whether any would be interested in joining an in house team of interpreters, to be on call throughout their normal working hours. To install a list of approved in house interpreters would be an excellent way of utilising existing staff and also offer the customer an excellent service.

3. Benchmarking the Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services of Walsall Housing Group
• This benchmarking exercise was conducted by RB Research, as part of its study of interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcriptions services in Walsall. The reason to choose Walsall Housing Group was that it had recently set up its own system for communicating with its service users, who may be from minority ethnic community groups, who may be deaf or hard of hearing, or who may require assistance via accessible formats Walsall Housing Group (WHG) Interpretation Service was set up in recognition that communication with the wider communities of Walsall is paramount. WHG embarked on a tendering process for service providers. It was decided not just to have 1 or 2 service providers, because of the need to provide the full range of communication, namely, face to face interpreters, telephone interpreting, translation services, accessible formats and BSL. WHG was seeking best quality, (defined as appropriately qualified professionals), in all communication aspects. They also wanted

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organisations with an understanding of and experience of working in the public sector. • • Twelve service providers were interviewed Five organisations were appointed: 1) Language Line provides telephone interviewing 2) Walsall CATS provides face to face interpretation 3) The Bilingual Group provides a community language translation service offering over 100 languages 4) Brasshouse Language Centre is the main provider for documentation for disabilities, including audio, moon, Braille, large print, talking e-mail and advice and support for web pages, in order to make the WHG website accessible for blind people. 5) Walsall Deaf People’s Centre provides BSL Interpreters. It also can offer text messaging and e-mail. They have created a database for BSL qualified interpreters. • • Quality assurance – internal checks and WHB customer satisfaction evaluation systems WHG is not willing to use staff as interpreters, for reasons of confidentiality, accuracy, putting colleagues in a difficult position, lack of knowledge of technical areas. Staff are not employed as interpreters. They would have to be trained and qualified as interpreters. Colleagues shouldn’t be dragged from their other work to act as interpreters. Staff at ‘First Stop’ Shop could use bi lingual staff on reception duties, because the site is fixed, unlike housing, with offices all over the place. Training should be available for those staff who want to interpret Speed of response: 1. Language Line – 30 seconds 2. Face to face - 2-3 days (common to all organisations) 3. Bilingual Translation Group – e-mail requirements, receive costings within 24 hrs – different formats available – PDF, JPEG – are able to do printing at the highest quality, also. Project Management • The Equality Manager manages all accounts and contracts and monitoring. Training providers come and train staff on how to access services A Guide/manual has been produced giving people and staff information about project.

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Details of services available are on the intranet and via departmental briefings For deaf people there is an Induction Loop, which takes away background noise, so that people with hearing aids just hear voice. Type talk and Minicom are also available.

4. Benchmarking provision of Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services by private and other providers of those services.
• The benchmarking of interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcriptions services, available from private and other public providers of those services was conducted by the Manager of the First Stop Shop Contact Centre, who was researching possible services who could meet the immediate needs of the First Stop Shop and the Contact Centre, until such time as a corporate facility was established, and RB Research which was viewing external agencies, re provision of communication services.

A. First Stop Shop Manager’s Consultations with private and public providers of Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services ALS (Altai Linguistic Services) - Birmingham • The expectation of any company employed by Walsall Council would be a high level of service (accuracy, confidentiality and integrity, timeliness of service, quality of interpretation and how performance will be monitored. All interpreters and translators are trained and assessed on accuracy, privacy and integrity and are assessed by the Institute of Linguists Language Services Qualified Assessors. Monitoring - An electronic performance system is used to log complaints and compliments with references. ALS operates a 3 complaints and out system for interpreters and translators. Interpreters and translators can be struck off immediately for a serious complaint. Timeliness - ALS is able to respond to face to face requests within 15 minutes to 1 hour. Telephone conversations waiting time reduced to minutes. A bespoke database can be produced of interpreters local to Walsall’s requirements with a timetable of their availability. Interpreters are made aware they are on call.

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Costs a) Preferential rates are charged for high volume usage b) The Standard Charge is £25 per hour interpretation costs for the first 2 hours and £6.25 per each 15 minutes thereafter. c) Travel costs are £25 per hour plus mileage set at 50 p per mile d) Telephone calls are £25 per half hour. Arrangements are made to suit usage. e) Preferential rates for interpretation, travel and expenses can be set at an approximate all inclusive cost of £35 – 40 per hour. f) Operational hours will have no bearing, as there is a 24-hour service. g) Translation – standard rates are £160 per 1000 words including formatting, typesetting and proofreading (all translations are proofread by a qualified translator to ensure 100% accuracy). h) Up to 250 words, there is a minimum fee 0f £60 to cover translator, administration and handling fees. For example, a document 500 words long would cost £80 and an 1100 word document would cost £176. i) For multiple language documents, there is a 25% discount on fees quoted j) ALS promises a quick turnover on translation as people are on standby. As a result, deadlines can be met.

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At present no council system in place to identify volumes or language usage. The Council is possibly looking at a 6 month local contract. Subsequent evaluation and quality and monitoring feedback will all feed into the Council wide review which will look to introduce a Council wide procedure for translation services.

Walsall CATS (Communication and Translation Service) • Walsall CATS is a voluntary not for profit company limited by guarantee, founded in 2001. It was set up with £140,000 of SRB5 funding, £40,000 from the Neighbourhood Renewal Fund, £30,000 from Walsall Health Authority and £20,000 ‘seed corn’ funding from Walsall Council. Currently, it seeks to sustain itself from fee income. CATS uses 70 interpreters covering 33 languages There is a fixed interpreting charge of £25 per hour, including travel and mileage costs Telephone services are £25 per hour Sign Language is provided jointly with Walsall Deaf People’s Centre. There are 8 Interpreters on the CACDP National Register. The cost of

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BSL Interpretation is £75 for a minimum 2 hour session. This excludes travel costs at 40p per hour. BSL Translation requires a 5 day notice period. • Translation services are costed per number of words. The complexity of documents is also taken into account. There is a minimum cost of £18 per document, with a turn around of 5 days. Quarterly monitoring reports can be provided, stating number of enquiries, languages and complaints, etc. No annual fee is payable Monitoring - Independent Express Interpreting Service are able to review the accuracy of the interpreters, on a regular basis.

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1) RB Research’s Consultations with private and public providers of Interpretation, Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services Brasshouse Language Centre - Birmingham • • Information on Brasshouse was gathered during the course of a personal visit. Brasshouse Language Centre is an independent company that is part of Birmingham City Council. However, individual directorates aren’t compelled to use Brasshouse. They can go elsewhere if they wish. Brasshouse Language Centre would not be able to satisfy demand, alone, as Birmingham City Council employs 55,000. Brasshouse Language Centre interprets and translates in 50-60 languages. It uses private companies when it is not possible to offer a particular language. As far as BSL is concerned, Brasshouse finds interpreters for the City Council, but has not had its own interpreter. However, 2 BSL interpreters are soon to be appointed. Brasshouse employs 6 full time interpreters and translators in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Mandarin and Farsi. As a matter of urgency they need full time Pushto and Dari. Brasshouse also provides a range of different accessible formats – large print, audio formats, MP3 Players, Webmedia, Braille, Moon, information on floppy disc and CD. The Language School also provides consultation on website formats. It is important to note that Birmingham City Council does not coordinate or monitor the use of interpretation and translation and human

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aids to communication and transcription services by its directorates. Each makes its own arrangements Contacts with other interpretation and translation services in the UK Were made by telephone and/or by e-mail 1) Luton Council. • Luton Council has its own in – house system of interpreters. The service is staffed by a full-time co-ordinator and 2 part time administrators, rather than 1 full time administrator. The reason for this approach is to make it easier to cover administrative tasks, in the case of illness and holiday. The Luton Service sells its language support services to the private sector. During the year 2004 – 2005, the service made £20,000 profit, largely from solicitors. 2) Dudley Council • • Dudley Council Interpretation and Translation Unit is part of Social Services, which funds the service. The service is made available to other directorates and public services (e.g. Dudley PCT, West Midlands Probation Service, DSS, etc.), on pay as per use bases. All social services departments and institutions get free services. Currently there are 6 full time Communication Officers and a full time BSL interpreter. There is a Braille service and the Unit has its own Transcription (Voice Over) studios. Administrative staff are trained in using minicom and basic BSL skills. Communication Officers have a community development role built in their job spec. They are on scale 6, the BSL Interpreter on SO2. The new recommended starting scale for Communication Officers is SO1. ‘Ours are underpaid’. For asylum seekers/refugees, in addition to the in-house service, work is sub-contracted to bi-lingual staff in the refugee/asylum seeker team and in schools. Housing and Education also have their own units offering oral interpretation. Dudley Council is also currently looking at a single unified service for whole of the council and partners. There is a bench mark for quality standards which is basically governed by the recommendations of the Lord Chancellor’s office, legislation, the curriculum authority and the level of qualifications available in any

• •

•

• • •

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given language, e.g., The Lord Chancellor's recommendation to use only DPSI qualified interpreters in courts and legal work. Since potentially any social service's case can end up in police and courts involvement there is no choice but to recruit persons with DPSI. • • DPSI is not available in all languages. It is also worth considering a postgraduate qualification in linguistics. In translation, translators should adhere to basic rules of text conversion, being able to evaluate and translate at appropriate register, ability to transfer concepts that do not exist in target language (i.e. contextual translation), Grammar, manners of speech, management of Colloquialism, Ambience, etc. With translation, it’s also important to know what to translate, where the line is to be drawn. It is not possible to translate everything. In Dudley, we translate the following: Public information, such as service leaflets, signposting to customer service information, information such as how to access services, how they operate, Council Tax, case records for Social Services, Freedom of Information Act. As far as the Council’s Equal Opportunities Policy is concerned, only the basic statement is translated into a range of languages. • Set up a proof readers panel, recruited from the local communities to check translations.

•

3) Norfolk County Council Translation and Interpretation Service • • • Norfolk has moved from ad hoc arrangements to a partnership model of delivering interpretation and translation services. Partners include Social Services, Education, Health Authority, Norfolk City Council and Norfolk Constabulary. Interpreting and Translating Services were delivered via a contracted partnership with Cintra (Cambridge Interpreting and Translation Agency). A ‘set up and run your own’ service had been considered, but rejected because of high start up costs, high unit costs, basic service with limited expertise and a very steep skills learning. The only positives were that the service would be locally based and physically accessible. The partnership with CINTRA included administrative support, costing, billing, booking, Agency training, Interpreter training plus Audit and monitoring.

•

•

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•

This partnership approach provided greatly reduced unit costs (0.6 Coordinator to develop the Project, rather than 1 Full time Co-ordinator and 1 Full time Administrator), reduced training costs, utilising a proven infrastructure, accessing expert, high quality service from the outset, capitalising on expertise, access to all interpreters at the same rate and was easily accessible, centralised and co-ordinated. The partnership model was costed as approximately £25000 cheaper than the in-house option.

•

7.0 Conclusions
• This research study provides an overview of the issues and needs related to Translation, Interpretation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Services in Walsall. A range of consultations with individuals and groups of Council employees, local voluntary organisations and local community members has revealed that all respondents have welcomed the future development of a corporate communications service. Some respondents emphasised issues such as promptness, trained specialists and quality control being possible in a corporate system. Others stressed the importance of raising awareness among service users about their right to request other formats, of raising awareness by staff of where and how to access services and making the Walsall public aware that these services and formats are available. The consultations have identified a range of communication needs that both reflect the different types of people living in Walsall. 1) Need for Interpretation Services - Minority ethnic community respondents identified the need for high quality, gender sensitive interpretation services, covering all languages spoken in Walsall, using qualified interpreters. Staff in various Council service areas also expressed the need for interpretation services. This is particularly true for the First Stop Shop, which will become the primary contact point between Council and the Walsall Public. Clearly, any one can come in from the street speaking virtually any language, and First Stop Shop staff have to be able to access interpretation support very quickly. Interpretation support can be either via a telephone facility, such as Language Line, for immediate support, or using a face to face interpreter, if subsequent interviews are arranged. 2) Translation Services – are needed to translate some public documents into community languages. Languages recommended by minority ethnic community respondents, consulted during the course of this study, are Urdu, Punjabi,

•

•

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Bengali, Gujarati and Hindi. Other languages such as Turkish and Kurdish may also need to be included. Issues raised re translation included quality of translation (it has to convey the gist, rather than be a literal translation), and the need to determine what to translate and whether written translation is the best method of communication. 3) BSL Interpretation – Currently, there is a Sign Language Interpreter in Social Care and Supported Housing. The situation is under review, but the evidence suggests that there is a need to retain the in-house interpreting post subject to further consultation with users and teams/services that have used the interpreting service. The post is required to meet the communication needs of Deaf users who have additional support needs and who will find it difficult to use general sign language interpreting services. In addition to this specific need, the First Stop Shop may encounter a deaf person who can only communicate using BSL. Although the First Stop Shop has other immediate strategies for working with BSL users, the deaf person may prefer to have a face to face meeting with an interpreter. 4) Accessible formats – In relation to the First Stop Shop, whose staff are very likely to meet people that are blind and partially sighted, deaf and hard of hearing, people with learning disabilities and deafblind people, a range of accessible formats needs to be available. For deaf people that use BSL ,the Royal National Institute for the Blind( RNID) recommended that, typetalk or a videophone or minicom are excellent alternatives, and that for non BSL speakers, deaf people rely on lip reading or lip speaking. For people that are hard of hearing, lip-reading and writing down are recommended. People who are deafened, rely on written English. For blind and partially sighted people, the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) made three recommendations, the facility to record on tape, the facility to increase size of format, on request, and a Word to Braille machine. People with learning difficulties, consulted during the Social care and Supported Housing Research Project, expressed a preference for large print and symbols. Many also preferred a combination of formats, such as audio tape and large print or audio tape and symbols. Deaf blindness poses particular challenges in ensuring that information and services are accessible in ways that conform with the requirements of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. 77

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Councils will need to consider not only various sizes of Large Print, as well as Braille, Moon, audio or video (subtitled or signed) versions but also computer disk or use of e-mail (to be accessed by specialist technology), text-phones and Type-Talk. For some deaf blind people no method of communication other than tactile communication delivered by another person is available (for example, hands-on sign, deaf blind manual). In these rare circumstances a provision of a suitably skilled communicator to deliver information would be appropriate. • The variety of communication methods required to meet the communication needs of Walsall’s linguistic minorities point to a service that includes the following five elements: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Immediate community language interpretation Face to face interpretation Written translation BSL Interpretation Wide range of accessible formats

8.0 Options and Recommendations
8.1
•

Options
The extensive benchmarking of different models of interpretation and translation and aids to communication and transcription services is described in detail in section 6 of this report. The benchmarking exercise revealed a range of options for consideration. Each option will include a recommendation: A. Language Line plus bi lingual staff B. In house interpretation and translation service C. A council contracting with a single external agency for all communication needs using a broker D. Council using a brokerage system contracting with a range of external agencies E. Partnership approach

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Option A: Language Line plus bi lingual staff • • • • Description Sandwell Council has adopted a Corporate Bilingual Scheme which is based on using bilingual or multilingual personnel as interpreters The aim of this scheme is to formalise provision of interpretation services, in response to identified customer needs, using, recognising and rewarding the additional skills of the Council’s employees. Sandwell Council also uses the services of an external company, Language Line Language Line provides a telephone interpreting service, where all transactions are completed over the telephone. The user has his or her own Identity Number and the service is chargeable. The service is available 24 hours, 365 days a year, in 150 languages and connects the client to a qualified interpreter in seconds. The service can be used any time of day, from any location, using any type of telephone. No special equipment is needed. An initial language barrier can be quickly and effectively removed. Language Line is especially suitable for: 1) Making and receiving phone calls where language support is required 2) 'First contact' scenarios where the non-English speaker is with you 3) Short language-assisted conversations (lasting up to 20 minutes) 4) Routine enquiries, bookings or cancellations 5) Urgent, emergency or unexpected language-impeded scenarios Disadvantages • Unqualified interpreters • Insufficient range of languages offered • Insufficient range of services • Language line expensive for all but short calls Costs/Charges Language Line has frequent and infrequent user options, and prices start from £2.25 to £3.25 per minute, with an additional annual management charge of either £295 for the infrequent user package or £575 for the frequent user. Employees covered by this scheme are reimbursed at a rate of £10 per call, up to a maximum of £35 per month for those who are bilingual, and £40 per month for those who are recognised as multilingual interpreters. Does this option meet Walsall’s requirements • This option meets the need to respond quickly to minority ethnic community members who do not speak sufficient English. Otherwise, this service would not meet Walsall’s needs and requirements. In addition, consultations with community groups and individuals revealed an unwillingness to use children as interpreters. Advantages Speedy response via Language Line Speedy response via bi lingual staff

• •

• •

Recommendation:

Walsall Council should not pursue this option

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Option B: In house Interpreting and Translation Service • • Description The Dudley Council Unit is part of Social Services, which funds the project. Dudley Council has a full time interpreting service that includes 6 full time Communications Officers, covering Arabic, Bengali, Chinese, Gujarati, Punjabi and Urdu. There is also an in house BSL interpreter. For other languages, such as refugee languages, a range of service providers is used, on an appointment basis. When interpreters are not being used as interpreters, they are used as translators. The scheme co-ordinator has identified a need for in house interpreters that cover Albanian and Turkish. There is also a Braille service and the Unit has its own Transcription (Voice Over) studios. Administrative staff are trained in using minicom and basic BSL skills. Interpreters are on scale 6, BSL on SO2. The recommended starting scale for community language Interpreters is SO1. For refugees, in addition to in-house service, we also sub-contract as well as bi-lingual staff in asylum seeker team and in schools The Service is made available to other directorates and public services (e.g. PCT, Probation, DSS, etc.) on a pay as per use bases. All social services departments and institutions get free services. Housing and Education also have their own units offering oral interpretation. Dudley are also currently looking at a single unified services for whole of the council and partners. The bench mark for quality standards is the DPSI qualification. Advantages Disadvantages • Easily accessible, centralised, • May still need to buy in other languages co-ordinated service on occasion • Utilising a proven infrastructure • Lacks flexibility if need for particular languages diminishes • Offers a wide range of services • High unit cost • Quality monitoring easier

•

•

•

Costs/Charges Detailed costs were not available, but 8 full time staff plus administrative staff, plus running costs is a large outlay, and that in a Borough with a minority ethnic community population half the size of Walsall’s. Does this option meet Walsall’s requirements • This option does offer what seems to be a full range of communications services, but at too great cost

Recommendation:

Walsall Council should not pursue this option

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Option C: A council contracting with a single external agency for all communication needs Description Brasshouse Language Centre is part of Birmingham City Council contracts and attempts to meet the City Council’s interpretation, translation, human aids to communication and transcription needs. • Brasshouse Language Centre interprets and translates in 50+ languages. It uses private companies when it is not possible to offer a particular language. • As far as BSL is concerned, Brasshouse finds interpreters for the City Council, but has not had its own interpreter. However, 2 BSL interpreters are soon to be appointed. • Brasshouse employs 6 full time interpreters and translators in Urdu, Bengali, Punjabi, Gujarati, Mandarin and Farsi. As a matter of urgency they need full time Pushto and Dari, due to increased demand. • Brasshouse also provides a range of different accessible formats – large print, audio formats, MP3 Players, Webmedia, Braille, Moon, information on floppy disc and CD. The Language School also provides consultation on website formats. • It is important to note that Birmingham City Council does not co-ordinate or monitor the use of interpretation and translation and human aids to communication and transcription services by its directorates. Each makes its own arrangements. Advantages Disadvantages • May still need to buy in other languages • Offers a wide range of services • No co-ordinating link with B’hamm City • Experience of working with a Council large council • Stretched by demand from B’ham City Council Costs/Charges Costs to Walsall Council involve 2 structures: • Interpretation costs p/hr of interpreter • Costing of service delivery • Does this option meet Walsall’s requirements Brasshouse offers some of the range of services Walsall requires, but does not offer a telephone interpreting system and, currently, not BSL either. Therefore, as a single provider, Brasshouse Centre would not be able to meet all Walsall’s requirements •

Recommendation: Walsall Council should not pursue this option of contracting with a single provider

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Option D: A council, via a brokerage system, contracting with several external agencies Description The reason to present the Walsall Housing Group (WHG) model, was that it had recently set up its own system for communicating with its service users, who may be from minority ethnic community groups, who may be deaf or hard of hearing, and/or who may require assistance via accessible formats • WHG embarked on a tendering process for service providers. It was decided not just to have 1 or 2 service providers, because of the need to provide the full range of communication, namely, face to face interpreters, telephone interpreting, translation services, accessible formats and BSL. • WHG was seeking best quality, (defined as appropriately qualified professionals), in all communication aspects. • Five organisations were appointed: 6) Language Line provides telephone interviewing 7) Walsall CATS provides face to face interpretation 8) The Bilingual Group provides a community language translation service offering over 100 languages 9) Brasshouse Language Centre is the main provider for documentation for disabilities, including audio, moon, Braille, large print, talking e-mail and advice and support for web pages, in order to make the WHG website accessible for blind people. 10) Walsall Deaf People’s Centre provides BSL Interpreters. Advantages Disadvantages • Meets the communication needs of • The manager will have 5 contracts to all Walsall minority groups manage • Best quality service Costs/Charges Costs to Walsall Council would involve 2 structures: • Interpretation costs p/hr of interpreter • Costing of service delivery – including broker and administrator’s salary. Does this option meet Walsall’s requirements • This scheme mirrors Walsall Council’s classification of communication needs and the policy of seeking best quality in each aspect very much accords with Walsall Councils aim to provide ‘best value Recommendation: Walsall Council should strongly consider the feasibility of adopting this option •

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Option E: Partnership approach – INTRAN – Norfolk County Council Description • INTRAN is a multi-agency partnership project providing interpretation and translation servicesfor people in Norfolk who are deaf or whose first language is not English. INTRAN was set up in 2000 by the majority of statutory agencies in the county. It is non profit making,and managed by the agencies who use the service. • It works with three providers of service; Language Line, Deaf ConneXions, and CINTRA. • The Service works in partnership with CiNTRA who provide administrative support, costing, billing, booking, Agency training and audit and monitoring • • • • • • • • • All agencies who are part of INTRAN pay a subscription to the service Advantages Disadvantages Greatly reduced unit costs • May still need to buy in other languages on occasion Reduced training costs Utilising a proven infrastructure Expert, high quality service from the outset, capitalising on expertise Access to interpreters at the same rate Easily accessible, centralised, coordinated service Service provider will take care of all administration and monitoring etc. Costs/Charges Partnership approach means running costs are shared among the partners. Because CINTRA is doing all admin/monitoring, they run the Project with a .6 post. They calculate having saved £25,000 using this approach Does this option meet Walsall’s requirements This partnership approach was included here to provide an example of the possible benefits of the partnership approach. However, although such an approach might be successful, in Walsall, in the longer term, the needs of the Council are more immediate, particularly with the advent and continuing development of the One Stop Shop Walsall Council should not consider adopting this option at the

•

Recommendation: present time

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8.2

Recommendations
• Having viewed a variety of options, the option or service model that could best meet the comprehensive communication needs of Walsall Council is Option D, which would include entering into contracts with 5 separate providers to meet the totality of communication needs. Best value could be assured by instituting a tendering and rigorous selection process. Option D would provide a single interpreting and translation service to co-ordinate and respond to all bookings from Walsall Council Directorates. The service could be staffed by a Communications Officer or Co-ordinator, a large part of whose role would involve raising awareness within Walsall, of Walsall Council’s services and the services co-ordinated by the Communications Unit. The service could be managed, either by the Head of Communications, the Diversity Manager, or the Manager of the First Stop Shop.

•

It is recommended that: Walsall Council should strongly consider the feasibility of adopting Option D, as the best means of meeting the wide range of interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription needs of all Walsall residents.

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8.3

Costs to Walsall Council

8.3.1 Costs to Walsall Council incorporate 2 structures: Interpretation costs p/hr of interpreter • Identification of unit costs is complex. Any comparison of costs, other than direct interpreter charges and payments, is complicated by the variety of service models. Many managers have no identified budget for interpreting services. One service manager in Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing had no idea who held the budget for interpreting costs or how much the annual costs were or whether that information was collated centrally or not. Another manager used to pay for interpreting out of ‘meeting costs’.

Costing of service delivery Estimated Service start up costs START UP COSTS Co-ordinator’s Salary (SO1) + 25% On costs Administrator’s Salary (APTC L3) + 25% On costs Recruitment Costs (Guardian for Co-ordinator) Advertising/Printing/ Stationery Co – ordinator Travel Insurance Postage and Photocopying TOTAL Sources of income £ 28,140 17955 2000 2000 500 1000 1000 52592

1. Walsall Council would have to find additional salaries to create new posts with little or no assurance that there would be increased funding levels from council clusters to pay for the service. 2. Individual directorates would need to find their contribution to setting up the corporate facility and their contributory share in subsequent years, based on percentage share of service. 3. There may be an opportunity for income generation if the Sign language Interpreter moves to join the corporate service. When she/he is not working for Walsall Council, there may be income generation possibilities in the private sector. There is, after all, a shortage of Qualified Sign Language Interpreters, nationally.

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9.0 References
1. Deafworks (1998), Interpreting Services for Deaf People in Walsall 2. Fox,S. (2003), Human Aids to Communication (HAC) Sources 3. Health Education Authority’s Expert Working Group (1998), Meeting immediate needs 4. Reid,C. (2005), Review of Sign Language Interpreting Service within Social care and Supported Housing 5. Sanders,M. (2000), As good as your word: a guide to community interpreting and translation in public services, the Maternity Alliance: London 6. Turton,J. and and Fernando de Maio. (2003), Interpretation and translation services in the public sector 7. Walsall Deaf People’s Centre (2004), Communication and Inclusion Needs of deaf and Hard of Hearing People in Walsall Metropolitan Borough 8. Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing (2004), Review of interpreting services

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Appendix 1:

Interpretation and Translation and Human Aids to Communication and Transcription Project Brief

Background
Walsall Council currently does not have a corporate approach to the provision of a translation and interpretation service. Each directorate uses a number of different arrangements, including language line, local providers and in-house staff. These ad hoc arrangements do not ensure that the Council achieves best value and there are no monitoring or quality control procedures. There is now a clear desire within the Council to provide a better quality interpretation and translation service for the benefit of the residents of Walsall. This is in line with the Council’s priority to improve access to services. Translation and Interpretation and human aids to communication and transcription services should embrace all groups in the community requiring access to services and information.

The Commission
The consultant will be required to submit proposals outlining a number of models by which the council could provide an improved translation, interpretation and human aids to communications and transcriptions service. The following are key considerations for this service: • • • • • • Meeting resident/user needs Meeting service specific requirements Best value A consistent and corporate framework Quality control Flexibility and speed of response

The Council is not seeking to recruit an in-house translation, interpretation, human aids to communications and transcription team. The consultant would need to:

A.

Build on the work already taken place

Build on material already available across directorates. A cross directorate communications project team has already carried out some initial work on identifying needs and mapping current arrangements. It will be important for the consultant to build on the work that has already taken place. However, there may be gaps which require further discussion. It would also be appropriate to explore with our key partners in the borough what arrangements they have in place and any basis for partnership working.

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B.

Experience elsewhere

The consultant should draw on the experience of other public bodies in the West Midlands and elsewhere, in order to identify best practice.

C.

Costs and Funding

In respect of each of the models that is discussed and put forward for consideration, the consultation should identify the costs associated with setting up and running the model proposed, also identifying any financial implications and associated risks.

D.

Consultation

The consultation should hold detailed discussions with: • • • • Officers of the Council Key partners in the Borough BME community representatives Local service providers

A list of contact details will be provided.

E.

Timetable

There is a need for the council to make significant improvement in the service as quickly as possible.

F.

Involvement of in-house staff

The consultant should take into account in the models to be proposed the benefits, risks and implications of using current staff to provide a first point of contact interpretation service.

G.

Implications of the First Stop Shop

The consultant should examine available options and best practice for the delivery of an interpretation and translation service from the First Stop Shop, which will provide customers with a first point of contact for all council service requests and information. This should include suitable options for the recording, monitoring and benchmarking of any proposed interpretation, translation and human aids to communication and transcription services. Also to identify the risks and implications in providing front line translation, interpretation, human aids to communications and transcriptions services face to face, over the telephone and through appointment options.

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The consultant will need to identify training needs for all front line staff within the First Stop Shop and give consideration to non-discriminatory practices in relation to confidentiality, privacy and individual customer needs.

H.

Relationship with providers

The consultant should also examine a range of options for working with providers. The options should include: • • • • • A service level agreement with one service provider A service level agreement with more than one provider A contractual arrangement The role of non-contact translation services e.g. Language Line Linking in with partners

28th January 2005

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Appendix 2: List of Organisations and Individuals Consulted
1. Small Group Meetings
a) Policy Team, First Stop Shop, Planning and the Equality and Diversity Team b) Social Care and Supported Housing Adult Services Senior Management Team Meeting c) Directors as nominated by Equality Champions d) Black and Disabled Employees Support Networks

2. Focus Group Meeting
a) Focus Group Meeting, comprising different minority ethnic community groups. Attending were: Cllr Mohammed Arif (Union of Muslim Organisations), Mohammed Aslam (Walsall Multi Faith Forum), Gurdev Singh Bal (Walsall MBC), Mohammed Gora (Walsall MBC), Bambul Miah (Bangladeshi Forum), Narshibhai Patel (Walsall Multi Faith Forum), Sukhvinder Singh (Sikh Forum Chair) and Manu Vyas (Hindu Forum Chair)

3. Face to face interviews (16)
a) Sajida Aslam – Female interpreter and crèche organiser - Aaina b) Julie Ball – Walsall Local Neighbourhood Partnerships Coordinator c) Ross Bell – Walsall Borough Strategic Partnership d) Hilda Bertie – Walsall Housing Group Equality & Diversity Manager e) Arshad Bibi – Finance Officer, Aaina f) Karen Collings – Walsall Disability Centre g) Sue Fox – Walsall MBC Access Officer h) Shafaquat Hussain – Walsall CATS i) Ayesha Khan – Aaina Women’s Centre j) Maureen Lewis – Walsall Black Sister’s Collective k) Roger Merrick – Walsall Service User’s Council l) Rachel Pearce – Walsall College Deafness & Sensory Loss Curriculum Leader m) Colin Sanders – Walsall Deaf People’s Centre n) David Shearer – WEYES o) Martin Turner – Walsall tPCT

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p) Teresa Weaver – Walsall Society for the Blind

4. Benchmarking visits
a) Ruth Beer - Royal National Institute for the Deaf, Birmingham b) Richard Orme - Royal National Institute for the Deaf, Birmingham c) Carl Marshall - Brasshouse Language Centre

5. E mail and telephone contacts
a) Maureen Begley – Norfolk County Council b) Julie Griffiths Brown – SERCO c) Carol Curtis - EITI Ltd. Interpretation and Translation Agency d) Eamonn Flood – Walsall Community Empowerment Network e) Agnieszka Ghanem – National Register for Public Service Interpreters f) Darrell Harman – Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing g) Jez Holding – Walsall MBC First Stop Shop h) Karen Lowe – Wolverhampton CSU i) Andrew Mellors – Walsall MBC Senior Policy Officer j) Tony Morrison – Walsall MBC First Stop Shop k) Jukka Myllyniemi – Birmingham Institute for the Deaf l) National Register of Public Service Interpreters m) Jaimin Patel – Newham Language Shop n) Sajjad Rehman – Dudley MBC Interpretation and Translation Service o) Christopher Reid – Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing p) Judy Ryder – Walsall MBC First Stop Shop q) Ann Strach – Walsall Compact Officer r) Jan Richardson – Walsall Social Care and Supported Housing Sensory Support Team

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