14 08, 2017

Partner Bulletin Week 4 – Important changes to our finance system & how you get paid

By |August 14th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

As our partners, we are sure you are aware that we have grown significantly over the last two years – 33% more booking last year and 10% more bookings this year. Managing growth and our partners has had three important consequences. These are:

  1. Robert and Jill in the finance department are dealing with up to 120 emails per day each, with Jill raising up to 80 invoices per day.  
  1. There is a considerable delay between the booking happening and Clarion UK getting your invoice – up to 20% of partner invoices are significantly late and recently some have been up to 6 months late. This means we can’t get the money in the bank which makes it harder to keep it flowing to you.
  1. We are being audited much more – this year so far we have had visits from Department of Work and Pensions (DWP), MoJ and the Department of Education.  We have passed them all, however they are looking at all our processes from nose to tail and our finances particularly need to be streamlined and efficient. 
So what we are proposing is three solutions:
  1. All of our partners using our portal for invoicing by October 1st 2017. After this date, emails and paper invoices will be returned. If you are not already set up there are three easy steps to take: 
                 a. Email Robert at robert@clarion-uk.com
                 b. Access the portal here: http://suppliers.clarion-uk.com/login
                 c. Follow the user guide here.

                 If there are exceptional reasons for needing to email or post invoices, please get in touch with Robert at  robert@clarion-uk.com.

  1. Invoices and time sheets in on time. These need to be sent to us within FIVE WORKING DAYS of the booking.  Anything longer than this will mean that you are paid what is on our system rather than any extra hours. Anything over 28 days late will not get paid – unless there is a reason such as long-term hospitalisation or illness, in which case get in touch. 
  1. Getting the details right. Terms and conditions need to match our clients. For example; mileage at 40p per mile and time sheets needs to be signed with a wet signature by yourself and the client – we will give out more information in the later weeks.  There’s no dramatic changes happening (cancellation charges will still be honoured, mileage paid, three hour minimums for interpreters), we are simply aligning ourselves with Student Finance England.

We will be bringing in a partner App and digital time sheets to make things easier in the coming months and your compliance with these new processes is greatly appreciated. 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact RobertJill or John in finance.
31 07, 2017

Partner Bulletin Week 3 – Ministry of Justice

By |July 31st, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

Ministry of Justice Performance

We wanted to keep you up to date with performance of our contract for the justice sector across the UK, running since November 2016. These bookings are across all Courts, Tribunals, Public Sector Prisons, Probation and the Crown Prosecution Service in England and Wales.

Our legal office also deals with Police bookings across the UK, has an Out of Hours service, Solicitors bookings as well as bookings for Victim Support, Cafcass and Crown Prosecution Services.

Our fulfilment target set by the Ministry of Justice was 96% for the first three months, then 98% after January 2017.

To break it down over the year, it is as follows:

This is one of the most crucial measures and we are pleased to say, we are hitting between 99.5%- 100% consistently.  This is calculated by looking at all the bookings we get, taking away those that are cancelled with no charge then working out the percentage of how many we filled. This gives us (and other suppliers) the fulfilment rate.  

Bob Marsh has been delivering Deaf Awareness Training to 24 bookings officers in London and we kicked this off during Deaf Awareness Week.  

Feedback has also been good, this was from one of the courts last month…

“Thank you for your services yesterday. I found the experience very positive; the speed of your response to our request was very good and was painless when speaking to your offices. Your focus on customer service was refreshingly driven”

And, critically, feedback about our legal partners, interpreters, lip-speakers, deaf interpreters and STTR has been positive. Typical feedback is…

“The interpreter’s confidence in delivery, situational awareness, management of emotions and professionalism was all excellent and their fluency & coherence was good. So all in all the clerk and Judge were impressed by the way the interpreter handled themselves”.

It is fair to say that we are pleased with the way this significant contract is going, and in the largest part this is down to the professionalism, skill and dedication of the teams that go out day after day in all weathers, at all hours, to deliver for clients.  

However, there is still work to be done, as a team we need to:

a)  Improve getting our partners’ bills and time sheets in on time.
b)  Improve our Deaf Relay Assessment so that it is available for all who want to work in the legal sector, within a reasonable time frame.
c)  Continue with our training, development and mentoring. 

If you’re interested in joining our legal team, contact lorna@clarion-uk.com

(Image: Recent court training with Byron Campbell in Cardiff)

What is Mystery Shopping and how does “Lot 4” work ?

Mystery Shopping was brought in after the first contract in order to bring quality control to the whole of interpreting in the justice sector.  It is ran independently by Newham Language Shop and they are responsible for the quality of work with Deaf people (Lot 3) as well as all language interpreting (Lot 1) and translations (Lot 2).

Newham Language Shop hold the register on behalf of the Ministry of Justice of all approved suppliers. If you are on it, it  means you have passed all the basic,  mandatory checks including NRCPD registration (where relevant), references, Enhanced DBS and proof of address to be able to work for the Ministry of Justice.

They have two assessors for BSL, qualified and experienced BSL/English Interpreters  and “mystery shop” about 1 BSL assignment per week. There are currently no assessors for lipspeakers, STTR, Deaf Relay Interpreters or Deafblind Interpreters. You can see more information here: https://moj.languageshop.org/ and here is an overview of how the mystery shopping and assessment process works.In conclusion, this is a new way of working and any feedback would be gratefully received.  We would also like to thank all our partners, stakeholders and internal staff for their dedication and hard work at making this a success. 

For more details, please contact lorna@clarion-uk.com or Newham Language Shop. 

13 07, 2017

Finance Assistants

By |July 13th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

We are seeking two Finance Assistants:  Accounts Payable and Receivable. 

Salary:  £18,000 – £22,000 per annum. 

Based in: Thriplow, 10 mins from M11. 

Hours: 09.00-17.00, Monday to Friday (flexible hours could be available)

Plus: pension, gym membership, performance bonus, training and self-development opportunities.

Clarion UK is a communication services provider, providing interpreting, employment and support services for people who are Deaf or have additional disabilities. 

Due to a large growth in the education sector in the past year, we are looking increase our finance team.

You will be responsible for:


Accuracy of freelancer invoices processed, raising queries and ensuring customers’ billing information is correct through on-line booking system integrating with our accounting systems.

Raising supplier payments and through Clarion’s accounting system and BACS processing.


Accuracy of invoices raised for Student Finance England, queries and ensuring customers’ billing information is correct through on-line booking system integrating with our accounting systems.

You will have the following skills: 

Fast and accurate data processing.

Ability to recognize and uphold high levels of confidentiality and data protection.

Accommodating, polite and professional.

Close attention to detail, able to keep data and information (hard and soft copy) properly organized, filed and retrievable.

Competent in the use of MS Word, Excel, Outlook and other relevant proprietary software applications – Microsoft CRM and Sage

Good time management skills.


The role is interesting, demanding and fulfilling. You will need to be accurate and swift, have good IT and listening skills, be able to react quickly and efficiently to requests, and be able to prioritise your workload.   

You will be part of a small finance team that is part of a larger SME going through a period of significant growth. We are passionate about delivery, learning, putting our clients at the heart of everything we do; equality of access is a big deal for us.

It is important that you have your own transport as public transport options are limited.

If you are interested, please send your CV with a covering letter Sally Chalk at sally@clarion-uk.com or visit our website.

Clarion UK is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from people with disabilities.

Clarion UK Interpreting Limited, The Old Dairy, Brook road, Thriplow, Herts SG8 7RG. Tel: 01763 207905


20 06, 2017

Assistive Technology Training

By |June 20th, 2017|Categories: Careers, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Currently Recruiting: UK wide.

Contract Type: Flexible hours

Overall purpose of role

We are looking for qualified Assistive Technology Trainers who has the ability to support, motivate and encourage students to develop and achieve their full potential. Ideally you will have experience working with higher education students. You will have the ability to be sensitive to pupils’ needs and learning styles and should have an interest in and understanding of additional support needs.

Main duties and responsibilities

  • Provide one to one Assistive Technology Training to students enabling them to develop independent learning.
  • To provide bespoke sessions for each student according to the needs of the individual student.
  • Deliver training according to Clarion guidelines and code of conduct.
  • A flexible approach to working hours is required.
  • Manage paperwork effectively, i.e. completing time sheets.
  • You will be expected to represent Clarion in a professional manner, this includes adhering to our policies regarding confidentiality and safeguarding


Skills, Knowledge & Experience

  • Understands the needs, objectives and constraints of others.
  • Up-to-date working knowledge of software such as dragon.


If you are interested, please contact Beth Jamieson at Bethany.jamieson@clarion-uk.com or visit our website.

20 06, 2017

We are seeking a new Student Support Coordinator

By |June 20th, 2017|Categories: Careers, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Salary: £22,000

Based in: Thriplow

Hours: 09.00-17.00, Monday to Friday (slightly reduced hours could be available)

Plus: pension, gym membership, performance bonus, training and self-development opportunities.

Clarion UK is one of the UK’s leading providers of both interpreting services for Deaf people and student support services for those with additional needs.

Due to a large growth in the education sector in the past year, we are looking to fulfil the role of a Student Support Coordinator.

You will be the first point of contact for our new students and will be responsible for registering them onto the Clarion Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and gathering all relevant paperwork that we require to put their support in place.

You will also need to qualify information, request further detail, and check information as it arrives. You will work closely with our bookings team and our support workers and clients throughout the UK. 

The role is interesting, demanding and fulfilling. You will need to be articulate, have good IT and listening skills, be able to react quickly and efficiently to requests, and be able to prioritise your workload.   

It is important that you have your own transport as public transport options are limited.

If you are interested, please send your CV with a covering letter Beth Jamieson at Bethany.jamieson@clarion-uk.com or visit our website.

Clarion UK is an equal opportunities employer and welcomes applications from people with disabilities.

Clarion UK Interpreting Limited, The Old Dairy, Brook road, Thriplow, Herts SG8 7RG. Tel: 01763 207906

16 06, 2017

Tell us How We’re Doing!

By |June 16th, 2017|Categories: Services, Uncategorized|0 Comments

We have launched a feedback form on our website and we would love to hear your opinions as Language Service Professionals working with Clarion UK – you can find it under the Linguist Zone (top right on the landing page) or you can find it here.
This will give you the opportunity to feedback to us on a number of issues that face you during your working day and for us to respond to you.  You can either submit anonymously or use your name – we really do genuinely welcome feedback and recognise that it helps us to provide great customer support.
6 06, 2017

Team Member Stories: Bob

By |June 6th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

“For too many years now, Deaf people have been classed as under-achievers by many employers but here we are in the 21st Century and it’s all changing for the better. It’s good to be a part of the agenda that’s changing minds and attitudes towards Deaf people.”

“The passion I have for this role is boundless. I’m effectively a ‘workaholic’ and I’m extremely proud of everything I’ve achieved so far. I strive for perfection, motivation and interaction to elevate my fellow Deaf peers to be on a level playing field with their hearing counterparts.”

Before working at Clarion UK, Bob worked as a Cabinet Maker for over 25 years. During his last few years in that trade, it was becoming more and more difficult for him to holds tools and stand for long periods of time due to a debilitating arthritic condition. When the family business he worked for was liquidated, Bob faced redundancy for the first time in his life.

“When I was made redundant it was probably a good thing all round as it was the push I needed to go in a new direction! It was a turning point in my life, I considered doing something completely different from Cabinet Making and wanted to support my fellow Deaf peers, which is where I am now with Clarion UK!

Bob was born in Chiswick, London and now lives in Colchester with his wife. He has 4 children and 11 grandchildren. He is Head of Employment Services at Clarion UK and leads National Specialist Employability Support for Deaf and hard of hearing customers with 162 Communication and Employment Consultants all over the UK. He manages national Welfare to Work contracts, ensuring delivery and seeking new opportunities for future employment services.

“One of my favourite moments was when Clarion UK were crowned ‘Supply Chain Partner of the Year 2013’ at ERSA’s Employability Awards Night resulting in national recognition for the great work we do!”

To find out more about the services Clarion UK provides and Bob works in, get in touch at bob.marsh@clarion-uk.com


26 05, 2017

Frequently Asked Questions about Deaf Relay Interpreters

By |May 26th, 2017|Categories: Services, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Here we give information on Deaf Relay Interpreters and  their profession. This page contains details  about:

1. What does a Deaf Relay Interpreter do?

2. Are Deaf Relay Interpreters registered?

3. What is the Difference between Sign Language Interpreters, Deaf Relay Interpreters, Deaf Interpreters and Sign Language Translators ?

4. What are Clarion’s team numbers?

5. What is the system for checking quality? 

6. What are our plans? 

7. What are the Assessment Criteria for Deaf Relay Interpreters?

8. Why are we doing this?

1. What does a Deaf Relay Interpreter do?

Deaf Relay Interpreters are experienced, trained Deaf people who work alongside registered BSL interpreters with users who are Deaf but not fluent in BSL. It is a profession that is over 20 years old. They adapt what the hearing interpreter is signing into a variation of Sign Language for the client, and when appropriate, together with the client’s response for the interpreter. A Deaf Relay Interpreter will ensure that the client fully understands the message. There are about 40 in the whole of the UK. 

When a deaf client has specific or complex language needs they will need a Deaf Relay Interpreter.  The client requiring a Deaf Relay Interpreter may have learning disabilities, mental health problems or use a foreign sign language. Different Deaf Relays will specialise in these three different areas.

They work usually in mental health settings including tribunals and in many criminal justice settings including police, Magistrates, County or Crown Court. They also get requested by local authorities when working with vulnerable people who are also Deaf or in safeguarding settings.  They rarely get requested in health, education or corporate bookings.

2. Are Deaf Relay Interpreters registered?

No. There is no NRCPD registration category for Deaf Relay Interpreters.  The interpreting profession and Deaf and hearing Organisations have tried to get this working, but with no success. 

NRCPD has registration categories for the following: 

1. Sign Language Interpreters. As of May 1st 2017 there are 1016 (273 trainees) of these and we estimate that four of these are Deaf, although this is not recorded in their system.  It can take 7 years to train, and cost upward of £10,000.  These are not registered as Deaf Relay Interpreters. 

2. Interpreters for Deafblind People

3. Lipspeakers

4.  Speech to Text Reporters

5.  Notetakers and

6. Sign Language Translators. 

The register for trained Deaf Intermediaries sits with the Ministry of Justice. 

3. What is the Difference between Sign Language Interpreters, Deaf Relay Interpreters, Deaf Interpreters and Sign Language Translators?

We estimate 99.6% of Sign Language Interpreters are hearing and 0.4% are Deaf. Their role is to interpret between spoken English and BSL/ISL or ASL and back again. 

100% of Sign Language Translators are Deaf and their role is to translate written English into BSL and back again.

4 of the 1016 NRCPD Interpreters are also experienced and trained in Deaf Relay interpreting and, in addition, meet our requirements. These requirements include, but are not limited to availability, geographical closeness and work within our terms and conditions or vice versa. 

4 of the 11 NRCPD Translators are also experienced/trained in Deaf Relay work and, in addition, meet our requirements. 

34 of our Deaf Relays are experienced and/or trained.

Making a total pool of 42 Deaf Relay Interpreters that we would like to get assessed.

4. Clarion’s team numbers

5. What is the system for checking quality ? 

For categories 1-6 , the process goes.

NRCPD registration, although no ironclad  guarantee of quality, does mean that the person you get is  properly trained by

For Deaf Relay Interpreters it is:

6. What are our plans? 

As you can see, they are different systems. What we are proposing is formalising the assessment processes (stage 2) so that at the least, the hearing and Deaf clients have some measure of quality. This is not a training programme, but an assessment of their ability to function at a safe level. We are also keen that the importance of a registration category for Deaf Relay Interpreters alongside a functioning training and CPD programme can be re-awoken by the profession. This assessment counts as 6 CPD points. 

We hope in the future that NRCPD will recognise training so that there can be a professional route for recognition of the skilled and  challenging work done by our great Deaf Relay Interpreting team.. 

We can’t do this alone though…

We did approach Signamic 5 years ago but with no progress.  The training, CPD and registration stages (2,3 and 4) will need to be in partnership  with; NRCPD, VLP,  all specialist agencies, government procurement, , ASLI, BDA, the profession itself and anyone else who is a stakeholder. If you are interested in contributing to the leadership of this project, please get in touch with either myself or Byron Campbell.

After June 10th, we are intending  have a pool of 12 assessed Deaf Relay Interpreters and 4 who were assessed on the Sign Solutions/GO DIRECT course (back in 2006/12). They will be given priority for all our Deaf Relay Interpreter bookings across the UK.  We will be running more assessment days through the Summer and into the Autumn at central locations. 

7. What are the Assessment Criteria for Deaf Relay Interpreters?

This is not an assessment for a qualification.  We will be running a brief assessment and interview process for the Deaf Relay Interpreters to ensure they understand the role and ethics of a professional interpreter and have the skills and abilities to provide a safe and effective service.

Our assessment criteria match the criteria taken from the National Occupational Standards for Sign Language Interpreters. We are not using the same level of detail as if they were being assessed for a qualification. 

Taken from Signature Qualification Specifications – Level 6 NVQ Diploma in Sign Language Interpreting, the skills portion of the assessment will look at their ability to fulfil the following criteria;

Interpret two-way as a Professional Sign language Interpreter

Carry out two-way interpreting assignments to a professional standard by:

  1. Interpret accurately the meaning expressed by users who are communicating with each other across two languages, with only minor omissions and inaccuracies that do not significantly affect the meaning of the base message in either language
  2. Reflect the language users’: register, attitude and tone as expressed through verbal and non-verbal communication
  3. Reflect the language users’ roles and relationships with each other
  4. Interpret consecutively and/or simultaneously/whispered
  5. Interpret factual information, concepts and opinions
  6. Paraphrase the meaning of complex terms and phrases, if the direct equivalent in the target language is not known
  7. Support effective communication throughout the assignment and take action if communication breaks down
  8. Explain the interpreter’s role on arrival, if necessary
    Use conduct consistent with the principles of professional practice and the relevant professional or registration body’s code of conduct

8. Why are we doing this?

Because we believe that providing a reliable, consistent and value driven service is very important for our hearing and deaf clients and for the specialist work that we do. Luckily, The Ministry of Justice contract gives us 100% control over the services provided in the criminal justice sector for up to 7 years. The quality of service provided by our Interpreters, Lipspeakers and STTR in the first 6 months is good and we are confident in moving forward with our training and development plans we will ensure the same consistency in our Deaf Relay team. 

If you have any more questions about Deaf Relay Interpreting please don’t hesitate to get in touch. 

11 05, 2017

New Criteria for Deaf Relays & Interpreting in Courts

By |May 11th, 2017|Categories: Legal, Professional Development, Services, Uncategorized|0 Comments

Clarion are the sole providers of communication services for the Deaf under the Ministry of Justice .  We are committed to using NRCPD registered and qualified providers whenever possible.  However, as no such qualification exists for Deaf Relays, we have decided to establish minimum criteria that includes a skills assessment to ensure the best quality possible. Although we know many Deaf Relays are already qualified with several years of experience, their actual quality and skill of provision has never been measured in relation to working in courts. As a result, we have decided the fairest and most transparent way to begin this process is to assess all deaf people who plan to undertake work under the MoJ contract.

The advantage to you the deaf relays are; you will know you have been assessed to high standard, you will be the only ones offered work under the new contract and you know you will only be working with skilled colleagues who have also been assessed to the same high standard.


Assessments will be held on the following dates:
  • London 3rd June 2017
  • Birmingham 10th June 2017
  • London 17th June 2017
Assessments days will run from 10.00-17.00.  Each assessment will last approximately 2 hours so you’re advised to arrive 15 minutes early. Once registered, you will be given an assessment time. Due to the complexity of it, each assessment requires the input of 3 people and 2 assessors.
  • The cost for the assessment will be £350.

However, we would be happy to accept the payment in two separate installments of £175 each.

Unfortunately, this means that from August 2017, we can not use the services of and Deaf Relay/Interpreters/Translators that have not undertaken an approved training course and successfully completed our Deaf relay assessment.  We will assess all Deaf relay interpreters in June of this year and those successfully completing the assessment will be offered court, tribunal and police work for Clarion. This is a change but we are very much looking forward to the consistency and clearer understanding of skills this will bring between us, Deaf Relays and the MoJ

Registration Information:
To register, please fill out our application form and send it to lorna@clarion-uk.com with your preferred assessment date.
9 03, 2017

Can we all stop filing for bankruptcy please!

By |March 9th, 2017|Categories: Uncategorized|0 Comments

It’s been a hard year for me as CEO of a thriving company in a challenging environment. Not because of the steep increase in demand for our services, not because of the MoJ contract, not because of our drive to keep delivering at 98% fulfilment and not because while we strive to keep prices down, we also make sure we pay all our suppliers bills  on time.

It’s been a hard year because I have had two of my most important companies file for insolvency within 4 months of each other. One was my local gym. Ethos which provided me with a great space to keep fit, strong and healthy so when I go to work I can focus 100% on quality and service for my clients.   The other was one of my clients.

Two very different companies, but when they dropped into insolvency, it caused surprise and delivered some shared lessons for 2017.

This is what they did right.

Clients liked them.  Every yummy Mummy in Cambridge liked Ethos, it was different, warm, welcoming – a little bit like your family.  The quality of the teaching was superb and they made a real difference.  And say what you like about cheap and cheerful agencies, but clients talk about them fondly with a twinkle in their eyes.  Those charismatic leaders persuaded and negotiated, with Ethos even achieving £800,000 worth of crowd funding in 4 months.

They had a good business model with good values and didn’t need to go bust.  We can criticise small agencies but they give their clients what they wanted – if they didn’t they wouldn’t have kept growing their top line.  It was the bottom line that they couldn’t get right.

Talented staff. Both companies led great, energetic teams,  Finance Managers who spent most of the last ten years  hiding under desks, pretending to be out when suppliers came knocking for their money, Operations Managers that pulled people together and delivered for their clients time after time, dealing with the most intractable problems with cheer and a chuckle.  Ethos had Rosie, with a triple A* in economics from Cambridge who gave it all up to be a yoga teacher. However, neither  had statesmen and women of steady hand and temperament, so necessary in times of strife and stress.     


This is what they did wrong.

Vanity. It’s great to look flash, with offices of steel, glass and concrete, but if you can’t afford it, don’t buy it.


New offices in Central London with the latest technology can sometimes tip you over. Ethos had prime Cambridge office space with 5 glass partitions that cost £5,000 per panel.   Year after year, we are strongly tempted to say “blow it, let’s go crazy”. But we’re still here, working  on our farm, with the very unglamorous cows  and farm machinery.


Greed. Both companies operated with intent; contracts are chased after and  won at  prices that were unsustainable,  with shaky delivery and  ultimate failure.  Ethos had visions of an international brand when the reality was that an expansion to London crippled the Cambridge branch, sucking out energy, time and resources and bringing it to its knees.

Most importantly, they didn’t do their maths homework.  There’s only one reason companies go bankrupt and that’s because they run out money.  Risk isn’t analysed, cashflow isn’t looked at and profit margins aren’t maintained.  Since setting Clarion UK up we have instilled a rigour about numbers – how many bookings, at what price, with how many interpreters, budgets on a weekly,  monthly and annual  basis and it works.

Lessons learnt and we will be keen to observe how the market and interpreters react. Next week- Steven Dering and other disasters.

Sally Chalk