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4.2.5 Language services - booking and payment

Last Modified: 12-Nov-2018 Review Date: 04-Jan-2021


To provide child protection workers with guidance and resources to prevent language being a barrier to accessing Department of Communities' services for people who are unable to communicate in written or spoken English, including booking and payment of interpreting and translation services.

Practice Requirements

  • Where a client needs help to communicate in English, or is hearing impaired and uses sign language for communication, child protection workers must assess the need for interpreting and translating services, to enable access to services.
  • Where it is clear that a client is unable to fully understand proceedings due to limited English proficiency, child protection workers must have legal or other significant written materials translated.
Process Maps

Not Applicable


  • Booking an interpreter
  • Issues with interpreting services
  • Payment of interpreting and translation services
  • Booking an interpreter

    Prior to booking an interpreter, child protection workers should confirm the following information:

    • the client’s country of origin and spoken language – this should include the relevant dialect where possible
    • the most appropriate type of interpreting service for the job, such as on-site or telephone interpreting
    • the setting for the job (whether it’s an office meeting, interview  or home visit), and
    • the context and complexity of the assignment - where court or statutory action is required, child protection workers should make this requirement known when booking with the interpreting service.

    It may be preferable to engage an interpreter of the same gender and this should be considered.

    The Western Australian Government has launched a Common Use Arrangement (CUA) for interpreting and translating services in the Perth metropolitan area. Child protection workers should familiarise themselves with buyers’ guide information which contains a list of agencies covered by this CUA on Page 6 in related resources).

    Use of the CUA is preferred but not mandatory and other services can be used if required.

    Child protection workers can familiarise themselves with how to use an interpreter by watching the Working with Interpreters DVD series (in related resources.)


    Issues with interpreting services

    A resource on managing interpreter issues in child protection practice is available in related resources.  Feedback can be provided about a service via the performance review form contained in the CUA buyer’s guide.


    Payment of interpreting and translation services

    Payment for interpreting services is made against the relevant district case support cost centre - category 42920.  When clients with no known child protection concerns require interpreter services, the payment can be made without opening a case in Assist. 

    Open Cases

    If a client has an open case in a district office and is also working with a Communities' program such as Best Beginnings, interpreter costs should be paid for by the unit holding case management responsibilities.

    When a client is referred to a community sector agency for a program funded by Communities, the cost of interpreting can be covered by us.  Specialist homelessness services have access to interpreting services at no cost through the ONCALL interpreter and translator service.

    When a client is referred to a community sector agency for a program that is not funded by Communities, the cost of interpreting should fall on the relevant agency. 

    Where a community sector agency does not have funds available for interpreting, child protection workers should negotiate with the agency in respect to costs to ensure that the client receives the service.