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Language Access Policy

We recognize the importance of effective and accurate communication to our customers and ratepayers. It is the policy of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) to provide Limited English Speaking Persons (LEP) with timely and effective access to the agency’s services and programs, consistent with the access provided to English speakers. All LEP and/or LEP owned businesses conducting business with or receiving services from the SFPUC will be provided free interpretive services by bilingual staff or through the Language Line Interpretation Services (LLIS).

The SFPUC has established language access policy and procedures, consistent with the federal and state guidelines, in compliance with San Francisco Administrative Code, Chapter 91, Language Access Ordinance, for the SFPUC staff to follow when serving LEP.

Language Access Complaint Forms

Background

The Board of Supervisors of the City and County of San Francisco established the Equal Access to Services (EAS) Ordinance, Chapter 91 of the Administrative Codes in 2001 for the purpose of providing “equal access” to city services to all San Franciscans, including those with limited proficiency in English.

EAS compels city departments to provide their services in English and in the languages spoken by substantial populations of LEP, ensuring that all residents have meaningful and equal access to critical city services. In August 2009, the ordinance was amended to strengthen its efficacy and effectiveness, and renamed the Language Access Ordinance (LAO).

Thirteen additional city departments were added to the existing list of Tier I departments subject to the full extent of the law. The SFPUC was added to Tier 1 departments in 2010.

The current LAO obliges Tier I City departments to provide the same level of service to LEP in various languages as are available to all city residents. Departments subject to the Ordinance are required to utilize and hire sufficient bilingual employees in public contact positions, translate materials, provide oral translations at public meetings, maintain recorded telephonic messages about the department operations or services in multiple languages and file annual compliance plans.

Last updated: 10/22/2013 8:34:50 AM