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OHR Releases 2008 Language Access Compliance Report

Monday, November 10, 2008
The report released today follows a successful “Know Your Rights” education campaign targeting the District’s limited and non-English proficient constituents.

The DC Office of Human Rights (OHR) issued today the fiscal year 2008 (FY08) Language Access Compliance Report today following a successful “Know Your Rights” education campaign initiated in October 2007. The citywide campaign targets the District’s limited and non-English proficient (LEP/NEP) constituents and includes advertisements through WMATA, print media, DDOT billboards, radio and television public service announcements in the six different languages covered by the DC Language Access Act (LAA). The campaign encourages LEP/NEP individuals to visit www.ohr.gov to complete a survey (in their language) that indicates they have gained knowledge about their rights under the LAA.

A total of 25 agencies were assessed and evaluated in OHR’s compliance report. In its evaluation of agencies’ performance OHR considered several factors upon which it determined its compliance rating, including agencies’ adherence to the legislative mandates, information submitted by way of quarterly reports, and customer service testing results as reported by the Office of Unified Communications (OUC).

OHR made the following recommendations based on its findings:

1) Complete adherence by agencies to reporting requirements.
2) Appropriate budgeting (i.e., designation and tracking of funds) for language access costs.
3) Procurement reform for contracting out foreign translation and interpretation services.
4) Assessment of linguistic proficiency for DC government bilingual staff.
5) Pay differential for recruits deemed qualified bilingual staff, dependent upon the availability of District funds.

While the District remains in partial (+) compliance with the LAA it continues to make notable strides in providing meaningful access to LEP/NEP individuals.

Highlights from the Compliance Report issued today include:

  • An 87 percent increase in language access complaints filed against District government agencies since fiscal year 2005
  • More than 60,000 limited English proficient people were served by District government during FY08
  • 0% of agencies received an overall rating of “non-compliance”

View a copy of the Compliance Report.