Less than a year after taking on the contract to provide courtroom interpreting, Leeds-headquartered company thebigword has hit the key performance target. Its predecessor, Capita Translation and Interpreting, took nearly four years to meet the 98% contractual requirement.

Thebigword took over the contract In October last year, briefed to provide face-to-face interpretation, translation (including telephone and video), and transcription. Ministry of Justice figures published today show that the company achieved a 98% success rate between April and June this year, a percentage point higher than the previous quarter.

The company continued to achieve a 98% success rate in standard language requests and 99% success rate for special service requests. The success rate for rare language requests reached 88%, up two percentage points on the last quarter.

In further good news, complaints fell from 730 in the first three months of this year, to 450 between April and June. However, 'interpreter was late' accounted for 140 complaints (30%) - a seven percentage point increase from the first quarter. The proportion of 'interpreter did not attend' complaints rose by eight percentage points, to 25%. However, 'no interpreter was available' accounted for 11% of complaints - a decrease of six percentage points.

Larry gould

Larry Gould

Chief executive, thebigword

Larry Gould, chief executive of thebigword, told the Gazette the company was pleased to be making 'strong progress' on delivering the contract. He added: 'We are working hard to ensure that all linguists are punctual and we have taken steps to proactively inform linguists of any major public transport complications. If a linguist cannot attend a booking, we have put in place a process to find an alternate one at short notice.'

Meanwhile latest quarterly family court statistics, also published today, show a 24% increase in deprivation of liberty applications compared to the same period last year. Deprivation of liberty orders almost doubled over the same period, from 375 between April and June last year to 689 in the second quarter of this year.

The number of applications, at 7,623, made under the Mental Capacity Act 2005 remains relatively unchanged. However, the ministry says a 'clearance' of outstanding cases and an increase in the number of cases being dealt with by regional courts have driven a 52% increase in the number of orders made under the act. Over a third of the 10,205 orders related to appointing a deputy for property and affairs.

The ministry also cited increased publicity and new 'simpler and faster' online forms for a 30% increase in the number of lasting powers of attorney received between April and June compared to the same period last year.

Today's legal aid statistics are notable for several downward trends, including for: applications and grants for criminal court representation, magistrates' and Crown court completed work, family legal help starts, family mediation, mental health work, housing work starts and the number of judicial review applications granted.

However, prison law work increased by 9% compared to the same period last year due to increased advocacy at prison disciplinary hearings. Applications for exceptional case funding remained broadly the same compared to the beginning of this year.