Q. What if my agency does not have sufficient administrative resources to implement all or parts of the Language Access Plan?
A. ANF Administrative Bulletin #16 and the Language Access Guidelines developed to implement the Bulletin provide that if an executive branch agency does not have sufficient administrative resources to implement all or part of its Language Access Plan, the agency head with the approval of her/his secretary shall submit a signed statement attesting to this fact. The signed statement should clearly identify which part or parts of the Language Access Plan the agency cannot implement due to insufficient resources and should identify a projected timeframe by which it can implement the part or parts that are delayed due to insufficient resources.
Q. If my agency has insufficient administrative resources to implement all or part of its Language Access Plan, should the agency proceed and develop a Language Access Plan, or can my agency delay development of the Language Access Plan until such time as there are sufficient administrative resources to implement it?
A. Pursuant to ANF Administrative Bulletin #16, each executive branch agency is required to develop a Language Access Plan. Although the agency may not have sufficient administrative resources to implement all or parts of the Plan, the agency should develop the Plan such that it can move forward with implementation of the elements delayed as soon as sufficient administrative resources are available.
Q. What if my agency does not possess the data necessary to determine which, if any, languages meet or exceed the language access threshold of five per cent (5%)?
A. The agency has two options.
First, the agency can identify as part of its Language Access Plan that it will use a "look back" method to determine the prevalence of languages within its client service population. Based on this "look back" method, if the agency determines that a specific language meets or exceeds the language access threshold, it should incorporate this identification as part of its Language Access Plan.
Second, if the agency cannot use the "look back" method to determine language prevalence, it should identify as part of its Language Access Plan that it will take not less than three months but not more than six months to develop and implement a methodology for identifying which, if any, languages meet the language access threshold.
Note: While the agency is not specifically required to do so, in the spirit of ANF Administrative Bulletin 16 the agency may adopt a position that is premised on the fact that the Spanish language, on a statewide basis, exceeds the language access threshold. Based on this fact, the agency may incorporate as part of its Language Access Plan that, notwithstanding the need to adopt the "look back" method or to collect data going forward, it will move forward to meet the needs of Spanish speaking clients in a manner consistent with ANF Administrative Bulletin #16.
Q. My agency never has legal custody of the clients in its care and as such must obtain consent from parents or guardians for medical, educational, and a host of other service related issues. Should my agency, therefore, treat the parents or guardians as our "clients"?
A. Yes. The purpose of ANF Administrative Bulletin #16 provides meaningful access to state programs, services and activities. As such, where an agency has a unique set of circumstances whereby the engagement of a parent or guardian is required to serve the person in custody, the agency should treat both the actual client (the actual program or service beneficiary) and the parent or guardian as agency "clients".
Q. My agency relies on vendors/service providers to provide certain services and programs. Are agency vendors/providers subject to ANF Administrative Bulletin #16?
A. No. At this time ANF Administrative Bulletin #16 only applies to executive branch agencies and the services, programs and activities that it administers directly.
NOTE: If your agency is a recipient of federal financial assistance, it and sub recipients of such federal financial assistance likely fall under federal regulations that pertain to language access. For additional information on this point, agency legal counsel should review information contained at www.lep.gov.
Q. My agency is regulatory in nature in that it licenses a profession or professions in which a requirement of the license is that the licensee speaks English proficiently. What is my agencies responsibilities vis-à-vis ANF Administrative Bulletin #16?
A. Agency licensure requirements should be seen as information that falls under the definition of a "vital document" and/or as "vital information". As such, the agency should ensure that such "vital information" is available in languages that meet or exceed the language access threshold. The agency's Language Access Plan should define the roadmap for providing this meaningful language access.
Q. Does the Executive Office need to appoint a Language Access Coordinator and development a Language Access Plan?
A. Yes. Each Executive Office should appoint a Language Access Coordinator and development a Language Access Plan.
Q. My agency is regulatory in nature in that it administers tests for the granting of a license to do business in the Commonwealth. There is no requirement that the licensee speaks English proficiently. What is my agencies responsibilities vis-à-vis ANF Administrative Bulletin #16?
A. Where an agency provides testing for the granting of a business license but there is no English proficiency licensure requirement, the agency should take steps to ensure that the test can be provided in a language that meets or exceeds the language access threshold.
Q, What is the relationship between Census 2000 data and the development of my agency's Language Access Plan?
A. An agency's primary data source should be its own data records relative to its client population as these records will define whether there is a language or languages that meet or exceed the language access threshold. However, should an agency not have internal data that identifies whether a language or languages meet or exceed the language access threshold, the agency may use Census 2000 data as a basis for identifying which languages, both statewide and regionally, meet the language access threshold.
Q. What is the Office of Access and Opportunity doing to identify and disseminate best practices and other technical assistance advice?
A. The Office of Access and Opportunity has developed a language access website ( www.mass.gov/anf/languageaccess) to help disseminate information on ANF Administrative Bulletin #16 and other language access information. This website will also be used to post questions from agencies and answers to those questions. The Office of Access and Opportunity has established a Language Access Working Group to help identify additional best practices and technical assistance information to assist agencies in the development and implementation of Language Access Plans. Finally, the Office of Access and Opportunity, working with agencies and others, will undertake additional efforts to smooth the path to effective implementation of meaningful access to services on the part of all.
Q. The Office of Access and Opportunity, in its July 2010 cover memorandum that accompanies dissemination of ANF Administrative Bulletin #16 and in this FAQ document, has raised the possibility that some agencies may have requirements beyond those imposed by ANF Administrative Bulletin #16. What does OAO refer to when it makes this admonition?
A. Federal regulations stemming from Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 13166 impose language access requirements on agencies that are recipients of federal financial assistance. These language access requirements extend to sub recipients of these recipients. Agencies that receive federal financial assistance should take steps to understand and adhere to these language access requirements. Guidance on these language access requirements can be found at www.lep.gov.
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