The National Health Service Shared Business Service Commercial Procurement  Solutions (NHS SBS CPS), which provides strategic procurement services for NHS Trusts has appointed thebigword, as sole supplier under Lot 6 Managed Services for its new Interpretation and Translation Framework.

The two year initial term of the Framework Agreement will allow thebigword, the largest independent language services provider in Northern Europe and 13th in the world, to provide a managed service under Lot 6 to public sector organisations and is the first of its kind within the interpreting industry.  It will cover all language services including interpreting over the telephone and face-to-face, as well as British Sign Language.

Operating under the new Interpreting Framework which went live on 1st November 2012, NHS SBS CPS expects the appointment of thebigword managed service to revolutionise the way the public sector procures interpreting services in the UK.

It is hoped that the new framework will reduce interpreting costs across the NHS by around £1 million per year.  The saving is achieved by streamlining booking and invoicing processes, creating a competitive marketplace.

Under Lot 6 of the new framework, NHS Trusts and public sector organisations will still be able to access local language providers that have been used previously, thereby securing local employment.  The managed service enables all bookings to be handled by thebigword via a single booking process, providing the NHS Trusts and public sector organisations with one point of contact, one billing system, a robust selection and uniform quality checking of interpreters across suppliers.

thebigword’s managed service will provide on demand management information which will  enable public sector organisations to manage their current and future budgets.

A high level of fulfilment is vitally important within the healthcare environment where interpreters can be required for potentially life-threatening situations.  Therefore, if the local supplier is unable to fulfil the booking, thebigword will operate as a backup service to ensure an interpreter is available. The additional resilience provided by the managed service will come at no additional cost to the NHS.

The service for NHS SBS CPS will use thebigword’s ground breaking Word Pie™ technology, which is already in use with a number of private sector and government bodies including London Probation Trust.

Damien Cador Category Manager at NHS SBS CPS says: “A reliable interpreter service is vital for the NHS where, quite literally, patients lives can depend on it.  The managed service agreement with thebigword enables Trusts to use their tried and tested suppliers whilst providing a backstop if necessary and simultaneously, reducing costs.”