Andy Slaughter MP, Labour’s Shadow Justice Minister, commenting on the findings of the National Audit Office report into the Ministry of Justice’s language services contract with Applied Language Solutions (ALS), said:
“The NAO has revealed a web of incompetence and complacency at the heart of the Ministry of Justice. The Ministry knew all along that ALS could not deliver the contract but still allowed it to proceed, unleashing chaos in the magistrates and Crown Courts for months. They have failed to scrutinise or manage ALS – not a single payment was withheld for the failure of ALS to deliver on the contract for four months. They have allowed unqualified and unvetted people to conduct sensitive and complex legal proceedings, and as of now still have no idea what if any savings have been made.
“The blame for this debacle lies squarely with Ministers and I am calling on the wholly new ministerial team at the Ministry of Justice immediately to review the contract with the aim of restoring the confidence in our justice system. Not to do so will make the new ministerial team as culpable as their predecessors.”