NRPSI - how does it work?
Thread poster: Kati Bumbera

Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:33
Hungarian to English
+ ...
Nov 12, 2008

Hi all. I'm in the process of registering with the NRPSI and the more I read about it the more confused I get about how it works exactly.

When I first started to research it about a year ago it seemed to me that being on the NRPSI was the pre-requisite to be able to work for the police, courts, health care services and other public service organisations. Which is what I wanted to do, so I promptly went and got myself a DPSI qualification to be able to register.

However, I also started to look around and contacted a number of agencies and quite a few of them also claim to be working with the police, NHS etc. and while they do usually have some assessment procedure in place, they don't seem to insist that their interpreters are on the NRPSI. And then there's the Metropolitan Police who apparently have their own exam (the met test) with their own register and wouldn't talk to me unless I'm on it.

So, my question is: what exactly is the NRPSI good for then? I searched their website as well as the IoL website but they don't seem to have an exhaustive list of organisations they work with, and there also seem to be a number of "middlemen" ie. agencies who target the same organisations, either through the NRPSI or by completely bypassing it, which in turn raises a couple of questions about rates, conditions, qualifications... If anybody understands this weird and wonderful world I'd be grateful for a word of wisdom.

Thanks.


 

Aline C.

Local time: 14:33
English to Finnish
Ask NRPSI Nov 13, 2008

Hi Bumbiuser,

Have you tried asking these questions to NRPSI itself?

They are all very pertinent questions and NRPSI should be able to provide some good answer to them.

Good luck!

Kasia


 

Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:33
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
thanks Nov 13, 2008

Hi Kasia, thanks, I'll definitely speak to them as well. But I'd also appreciate thoughts from people who've been working as community interpreters for a while and have a better understanding of the "big picture", not just the generic answers one tends to get from the official people.

 

Anne Lee  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 14:33
Member (2003)
Dutch to English
+ ...
In principle a useful system Nov 14, 2008

Having been on the National Register for several years now, I can testify that it has generated a fair amount of work for me from police forces and courts all over the country. In principle, these organisations have a duty under the revised National Agreement
http://frontline.cjsonline.gov.uk/guidance/race-confidence-and-justice/
to try and secure the services of an NRPSI interpreter before contracting interpreters from elsewhere. However, in practice, several police forces and even courts are now working with agencies because it saves the hassle of phoning round a list and trying to find someone, often at short notice. Furthermore, the health sector is pretty slow at following the National Agreement and they are known to favour agencies prepared to provide interpreters at low rates.
Many NRPSI interpreters refuse to work for agencies, because most agencies pay rates below those set by the revised National Agreement, with the result that less well qualified agency workers were forcing NRPSI interpreters out of business. An increasing number of agencies (known as 'intermediaries') are now subscribing to the Register, but NRPSI interpreters can opt out of having their details passed on to those subscribers.
I admit that when I joined, I expected it to be a more pro-active organisation that supports its registrants in a pro-active way, but it is purely a register.
Despite all these developments, I don't regret applying to be on the NRPSI register because it still is a prestigious title to have after your name. The fact it prompted you to seek a DPSI diploma was definitely a positive move, because that diploma in itself will have given you a thorough grounding and it will open doors for you.
Furthermore, whereas there has been a move towards outsourcing interpreting arrangements, some police forces have come to realise that working with unqualified interpreters carries serious risks are are returning to the prescribed procedures.

The APCI (http://www.apciinterpreters.org.uk/ Association of Police and Court Interpreters) now has its own call centre. You can apply to join that organisation once you have reached full-time status on the NRPSI, after 400 hours of interpreting experience.

[Edited at 2008-11-14 17:23 GMT]


 

Kati Bumbera  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 15:33
Hungarian to English
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
How picky can you be with agencies? Nov 14, 2008

Thanks for the helpful response Anne!

I guess to me as a newbie it boils down to this: how picky can I get with agencies? It seems like it's not my best interest to work for them if the rates are lower, but will the NRPSI give me enough work to opt out of having my details being passed on to intermediaries? It looks like there's a delicate balance here which is why I'm eager to hear people's personal experience.

I'm also wondering if it is even possible to approach certain organisations without going through an agency, especially if they have contracts with them.

Another recent surprise I had was with the Metropolitan Police who told me they only work with people who have the Met Test and they are not interested in the NRPSI as such. Which is strange because it was precisely the Met Police who first told me about the NRPSI as the ultimate pre-requisite to work for them (I wonder if the rules have changed since I first approached them 2 years ago because at the moment it looks like I made a mistake opting for the DPSI as opposed to the Met Test.)

Thanks again for all the helpful stuff and please share your thoughts, everybody.


 


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NRPSI - how does it work?

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