Nottinghamshire County Council say that changes to the way they provide translation and interpretation services has saved taxpayers more than £50,000 a year and provided a more comprehensive service.
The Council teamed up with the Language Shop - part of the London Borough of Newham - to provide the service from November last year to replace the previous in-house provision.
Whilst the Language Shop provides translation and interpretation services to other London Boroughs and NHS Trusts, Nottinghamshire County Council is the first local authority outside London to contract with them.
The service supports fair access to key services, the majority of which are related to social care and safeguarding.
Examples include interpreting for social care meetings, translating documents for court papers and supporting some of the most vulnerable people in society to access basic services.
Although the management of the service is based in Newham, locally based interpreters and translators are commissioned to deliver the service in Nottinghamshire. A recruitment drive for further professional interpreters in Nottinghamshire is underway.
In the first quarter of this year (January to March), the Language Shop carried out around 500 jobs for the Council, with 99 per cent of professionals who used the service rating it as excellent or good.
Coun Alan Rhodes, Leader of Nottinghamshire County Council, said: “Value for money, treating people fairly and working together are the core values the County Council bases its decision-making on and I think the way we now deliver translation and interpretation services demonstrates all three.
“People benefiting from the service are often experienceing difficult situations, so it is reassuring that the feedback we have received since the change has been so overwhelmingly positive.
“By working with Newham Council we have been able to both improve our service and save money by tapping into their existing expertise and resources. This is a good example of how we are redefining the Council to focus our services on the needs of the people of Nottinghamshire.”