UK Awards USD 0.5bn in Healthcare Translation and Interpreting Framework Contracts

Large Translation and Interpreting Contract for UK Healthcare in May 2021

The winners of two large UK public sector contracts for translation and interpreting have been announced. HealthTrust Europe (HTE) awarded a “Total Language Solutions” contract worth up to GBP 250m (USD 353m), while the NHS Shared Business Services (NHS SBS) named the winning bidders of an Interpretation and Translation Services tender valued at GBP 125m (USD 177m).

Typically, these amounts are spend ceilings and only indicative of actual amounts spent during the term.

An award notice published on May 7, 2021 shows the HTE establishing a framework agreement with 17 language service providers (LSPs). As covered by Slator, the HTE had issued a call to tender on behalf of University Hospitals of Coventry and the Warwickshire NHS Trust in September 2020.

The new HTE contract, which runs for three years with a possible 12-month extension, is divided into two lots. Lot 1, worth GBP 200m (USD 283m), relates to translation, interpreting, and transcription for spoken languages. Lot 2, worth GBP 50m (USD 70.7m), covers services for non-spoken languages (e.g., British Sign Language). The award criteria gave a weighting of 65% to quality and 35% to price.

NHS Shared Business Services

Meanwhile, the NHS SBS contract worth USD 177m for translation and interpreting was awarded on May 13, 2021. The framework agreement is a joint venture between the Department of Health and Sopra Steria, a Paris-based consulting and digital services company.

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The contract is divided into seven lots, each valued at GBP 20.83m.

  • Lot 1 – face-to-face interpreting (F2F Interpreting)
  • Lot 2 – British Sign Language services (BSL)
  • Lot 3 – telephone interpreting (OPI)
  • Lot 4 – document translation (Translation)
  • Lot 5 – video interpretation (VRI)
  • Lot 6 – a “one-stop-shop” for the provision of the full range of translation and interpreting services (One-Stop-Shop)
  • A seventh lot, Lot P – for the provision of products to aid translation and interpretation (Products)

In total, 31 different LSPs were awarded one or more lot. With the exception of Lot P, each lot received 16–20 proposals and was awarded to 15–17 LSPs. Lot P was awarded to the only company to submit a tender, UK software development company Aprobrium (Lexacom).

Nine LSPs struck big, and were awarded a spot on all six lots. These were Absolute Interpreting and Translations, DA Languages, Global Translation Services, ITL (North East), Language Connect International (rebranded to THG Fluently), Language Empire, ONCALL Interpreters, Silent Sounds Communications, and thebigword.