Issue details

23/00011 - Interpreting and Communication Services for People who are D/deaf and Deafblind - Contract Award

Proposed decision:


Award contracts to the successful providers for the provision of Interpreting and Communication Services for People who are d/Deaf and Deafblind and delegate authority to the Corporate Director Adult Social Care and Health to take other relevant actions, including but not limited to finalising the terms of and entering into required contracts or other legal agreements, as necessary to implement the decision.


Reason for the decision:


Kent County Council’s (KCC) statutory responsibilities under The Care Act 2014, Equality Act 2010 and the Accessible Information Standard 2016 are partly met through an Interpreting and Communication service for People who are D/deaf or Deafblind. The framework contract provides a list of pre-vetted and approved communication professionals from whom interpreting and translation services can be purchased as and when required.


This decision supports the delivery of the corporate equality objective to ensure council information and services are accessible for everyone identified in Framing Kent’s Future – Our Council Strategy 2022-2026, and in the Adult Social Care strategy, Making a Difference Every Day, by offering a person-centred approach to accessing communication support to people who need it.


The council’s current framework commenced in June 2019 and will expire in June 2023. New contractual arrangements for purchasing these communication services need to be in place by 17 June 2023. Decision number 22/00090 was taken on the 5 October 2022 to tender for a new Interpreting and Communication Services framework of providers.


Options considered and discounted:


Do nothing – This would pose risks to the council in terms of control over costs, service quality and inconsistent service provision.


Commission managed interpreting services from a single provider – This option has been discounted due to the lost opportunity to develop relationships with and support local interpreters, and the potential to lose control over quality and interpreter availability.


Commissioning D/deaf interpreting services from an external provider via an existing Framework – National frameworks do not guarantee the provision of qualified interpreters, and research suggests this type of framework directly leads to a poor service to users which in turn increases the demand on social services e.g., poor interpreting can lead to people not understanding an issue and the person may require additional support from health and social care providers.


Decision type: Non-key

Decision status: Recommendations Approved

Division affected: (All Division);

Notice of proposed decision first published: 06/02/2023

Anticipated restriction: Part exempt  -

Decision due: Not before 7th Mar 2023 by Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead member: Cabinet Member for Adult Social Care and Public Health

Lead director: Richard Smith

Department: Social Care, Health & Wellbeing

Contact: Simon Mitchell, Senior Commissioner Tel: 03000 417156 Email:


Engagement has been carried out with a number of stakeholders, including the Deaf community, language professionals, external contract partners, existing users of the service and other local authorities.


The proposed decision will be discussed at the Adult Social Care Cabinet Committee meeting on 15 March 2023.

Financial implications: The estimated annual cost of this service to Kent County Council is £20,000 per annum, or £80,000 over the proposed four-year contract period. In addition, other public sector authorities will also be able to access the council’s contract to purchase interpreting services, making the total estimated spend via the contract £50,000 per annum and £200,000 over the four-year contract period.

Legal implications: The procurement process has been conducted in accordance with Public Contracting Regulations 2015.

Equalities implications: An Equality Impact Assessment has been carried out and has concluded that there should be no negative impact on people with protected characteristics. Data Protection implications: It is likely that a Data Protection Impact Assessment will be required, and this will be completed as the service is mobilised.