October 6, 2011

No. 26: Statewide Language Access Policy

TOP No. 26: Statewide Language Access Policy
WYSIWYG

WHEREAS, two and one-half million New Yorkers have limited-English proficiency which means they do not speak English as their primary language and have limited ability to read, speak, write or understand English, thereby presenting potential barriers to accessing important government programs or services; and

 

WHEREAS, the public safety, health, economic prosperity, and general welfare of all New York residents is furthered by increasing language access to State programs and services; and

 

WHEREAS, the State is committed to ensuring that language access services are implemented in a cost effective and efficient manner;

 

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Andrew M. Cuomo, Governor of the State of New York, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and laws of the State of New York, do hereby order as follows:

 

1. Executive State agencies that provide direct public services shall translate vital documents, including essential public documents such as forms and instructions provided to or completed by program beneficiaries or participants. The translation shall be in the six most common non-English languages spoken by individuals with limited-English proficiency in the State of New York, based on United States census data, and relevant to services offered by each of such agencies. Translation shall be achieved on a rolling basis to be completed no later than 365 days of the signing of this Order.

 

2. Each such agency shall provide interpretation services between the agency and an individual in his or her primary language with respect to the provision of services or benefits.

 

3. Each such agency shall publish a language access plan that will reflect how the agency will comply with this Order and all progress since it last submitted a language access plan. Such plan shall be issued within 90 days of the signing of this Order, and updated every two years thereafter.

 

4. Each language access plan shall set forth, at a minimum, the following:

 

a. When and by what means the agency will provide or is already providing language assistance services;
b. The titles of all available translated documents and the languages into which they have been translated;
c. The number of public contact positions in the agency and the number of bilingual employees in public contact positions, including the languages they speak;
d. A training plan for agency employees which includes, at minimum, annual training on the language access policies of the agency and how to provide language assistance services;
e. A plan for annual internal monitoring of the agency’s compliance with this Order;
f. A plan of how the agency intends to notify the population of offered language assistant services; and
g. A language access coordinator at the agency, who shall be publicly identified.

 

5. The language access coordinator for each such agency shall monitor the agency’s compliance with this Order by annually collecting data on the provision of language assistance services, the availability of translated materials, whether signage is properly posted, and any other relevant measures.

 

6. The Deputy Secretary for Civil Rights shall oversee, coordinate and provide guidance to agencies in implementing this Order and ensure that the provision of services by agencies meets acceptable standards of translation or interpretation.

 

G I V E N under my hand and the Privy Seal of the 
State in the City of Albany this sixth day 
of October in the year two thousand 
eleven.

 

BY THE GOVERNOR

 

     Secretary to the Governor