Objective 1: Issue Guidelines to Ensure Access to State Services on the Part of Limited English Proficiency Persons
Most individuals living in the Commonwealth read, write, speak and understand English. There are many individuals, however, for whom English is not their primary language. For instance, based on the 2000 census, approximately 1.1 million or nearly 19% of residents speak a language other than English at home. Persons who do not speak English as their primary language and who have a limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English may be limited English proficient or "LEP," and may be eligible to receive language assistance with respect to a particular type of service, benefit or encounter. Language for LEP individuals can be a barrier to accessing important benefits or services, understanding and exercising important rights, complying with applicable responsibilities, or understanding other information provided by state programs and activities.
Pursuant to the intent of EO 478, the Office of Access and Opportunity will develop an ANF Administrative Bulletin to establish Language Access Implementation Guidelines to improve the accessibility to state services, programs and activities on the part of eligible LEP persons. Pursuant to the Administrative Bulletin, state agencies will have 120 days to develop Language Access Plans to ensure LEP access to agency services, programs and activities.
Objective 2: Purchase translation equipment to ensure full access to and interaction at public meetings on the part of Limited English Proficient Persons
The Office of Access and Opportunity will purchase translation equipment for use at state public meetings by September 2010 and make it available for use by all state agencies.
Objective 3: Monitor implementation of ANF Administrative Bulletin 15 - Civil Rights Impact Analysis requirements
In FY2010, the Office of Access and Opportunity brought forward ANF Administrative Bulletin 15. The purpose of this Administrative Bulletin is to provide guidance to state agencies to ensure that proposed agency regulations are consistent with the principles and objectives of Executive Order 478.
A civil rights impact analysis (CRIA) is meant to facilitate the identification of administrative decisions that may adversely and disproportionately impact service, activity or program beneficiaries based on their membership in a protected group. Responsive action based on CRIA findings can eliminate or substantially alleviate these negative effects.
The Office of Access and Opportunity will monitor implementation of this Administrative Bulletin to ensure that proposed regulations do not unintentionally pose an adverse impact on members of a protected class or protected classes.
Objective 4: Develop a formal process for responding to and resolving disparate impact complaints relative to state programs, policies, activities and/or services
Executive Order 519 defines one responsibility of the Office of Access and Opportunity to "ensure nondiscrimination, diversity and equal opportunity in all aspects of state employment, programs, services, activities, and decision-making." During the first two fiscal years of operation, the Office of Access and Opportunity has handled complaints of disparate impact in state services, program and/or activities in an informal manner. In FY2011, the Office of Access and Opportunity will develop formal complaint-making and complaint-resolution processes to enhance the effectiveness of its work.