Court-appointed Communication Assistance Quality Framework

Closes 19 Feb 2021

Opened 15 Jan 2021

Overview

Communication assistance is one of the tools used to support vulnerable defendants and witnesses to participate in court proceedings. Vulnerable participants include children, people with disabilities, neurodiversity, mental health conditions and experience of trauma. Using communication assistance can improve a participant’s understanding and help them give better quality evidence.

The Ministry of Justice is enhancing the existing Communication Assistance service to ensure it is:

  • delivered consistently across the country
  • supported by a quality framework that promotes service excellence
  • sufficiently resourced with trained staff for any increase in demand for the service
  • understood and used effectively within the justice sector
  • effective in increasing access to justice for participants and witnesses.

We have developed a court-appointed communication assistance quality framework (quality framework). The draft quality framework:

  • introduces minimum qualifications required to become a communication assistant
  • provides for a nationally consistent training programme for communication assistants
  • sets a nationally consistent process for identifying the need for communication assistance and making a application
  • describes how the communication assistance service should be delivered in a court proceeding
  • sets a framework for Ministry leadership, contract and relationship management and ongoing service improvement.

Consultation document: Court-appointed Communication Assistance Quality Framework [DOCX, 483KB]

We encourage anyone with an interest in improving access to justice, especially for vulnerable participants, to give their feedback on the draft quality framework. In particular, please consider responding if you are:

  1. a member of the judiciary or legal professional who may work with a communication assistance provider to support engagement with a client or witness in a court proceeding
  2. a person or organisation with an interest in ensuring access to justice for vulnerable witnesses and defendants who are children and/or young people and adults who have disabilities, neurodiversity, mental health conditions or experience of trauma
  3. court staff members, police officers, social workers or other professional who may be involved with communication assistance during a court proceeding
  4. current communication assistance providers or an organisation or member of a professional group with a potential interest in providing communication assistance in future.

What happens to your feedback?

The information collected is confidential. It will be used in an anonymous format to identify changes needed to strengthen or clarify the draft quality framework before it is finalised and becomes a requirement for all those involved in using communication assistance in court proceedings.

You can find our privacy statement here:

Ministry of Justice Citizen Space privacy statement

Give us your views

Audiences

  • Internal and external parties

Interests

  • Communication assistance