Our new Language Services framework is now live, providing interpreting, translation and transcription services that support remote working and social distancing.

The pandemic has forced organisations to adapt the way they work to ensure critical frontline services can still be provided to those most in need. As this often includes citizens whose primary language is not English, it has led to a move away from traditional face-to-face translation services to options such as telephone and video interpreting. 

Changing needs

In January 2020 our customers were using in the region of 450,000 minutes of telephone and video interpreting. By February 2021 this had increased to over 1.2 million minutes, reflecting the need to change how services are provided in response to COVID-19. In the same time period, face-to-face services reduced from around 5,000 appointments to 1,500.

Our new Language Services framework (RM6141) gives you access to a range of remote solutions – from telephone and video services to speech-to-text software and machine translation. It replaces RM1092, which expired on 21 April 2021.

As well as helping you respond to new ways of working brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, these options can also save you time, resources and costs. As the Home Office Legacy Common Goods and Services Team commented:

CCS was able to provide expert advice, guidance and direction on how best to use the framework. This support enabled the Home Office to concentrate on developing our requirements, whilst knowing we had an expert in language services at our disposal when needed.

Social value

Social value is firmly at the heart of the new framework. All suppliers have been assessed on their ability to help you achieve social value, with a particular focus on equality and diversity, fair working practices and support for local communities.  

Every successful supplier was evaluated on areas such as: 

  • the social or economic initiatives they will adopt throughout the life of the framework to support the community they serve 
  • fair working practices for all personnel providing services under the framework
  • ensuring equality and diversity in the workplace, including how they will improve in this area 

By working in partnership with our suppliers on these important issues, we are confident of a better outcome for you as our customer, for your end users, and the wider language services community. 

Your particular social value needs may be unique to your organisation, and bespoke social value requirements can be included in your procurement whether you’re a central government department, NHS trust, local authority, housing association, or charity.  

What else is new?

We have added several other new features to the framework to ensure you have access to the solutions you need. This includes: 

  • regional managed service lots: if you have a regional or overseas focus you can buy multiple services through a single supplier, giving you greater clarity about pricing 
  • more opportunities for SME suppliers as they don’t need to be able to offer their services on a national scale: 13 of the 15 suppliers on the new framework are SMEs
  • a quality assurance service option: you can get an independent quality assurance specialist to carry out checks on your supplier(s) and/or the linguists carrying out assignments for you
  • services available through the framework have been rationalised to avoid confusion: all non-spoken services, such as Braille and British Sign Language are now included under a single non-spoken services option (lot 4), helping you achieve compliance with the accessibility regulations that have recently come into effect

Add power to your procurement decisions with CCS

If you would like to learn more about the framework and the innovative new options it offers, we will be hosting webinars throughout the summer.

We’ll share further details about the webinars shortly. In the meantime, let us know if you are interested in joining us by completing this short online form and mentioning ‘Language Services webinar’ in the comments box. 

You can also:

Don’t forget, you can find a full list of all the commercial agreements we offer, alongside details of how we can help you build policy considerations into your procurement, in our interactive digital brochure.