The Open Government Partnership (OGP) was launched in 2011 to provide an international platform for domestic reformers committed to making their governments more open, accountable, and responsive to citizens. The US is a founding member and today the OGP has 69 participating countries. In all these countries, government and civil society work together to develop and implement ambitious open government reforms.

One of the requirements for participation in the OGP is to release an Open Government National Action Plan every two years detailing steps the US is taking to advance open government initiatives. The third version of the plan was released in October, 2015, and includes directives for federal agencies to provide meaningful access for Limited English Proficient (LEP) individuals.

“The United States will ensure that public- facing programs and activities, including recipients of Federal financial assistance through the General Services Administration, have policies and practices in place to provide meaningful access to limited English proficient individuals. The General Services Administration will conduct outreach and training efforts with its employees and recipients of Federal assistance to inform these policies and programs,” reads the report.

Clearly, the US government recognizes that an essential part of access is providing information in language that the public understands. For the first time, the US includes mandates to reach out to its LEP population through Language Access plans, as well as to use “plain language” in how it describes its objectives and goals.

Under the recent initiatives, the US federal government will use the General Services Administration to channel its efforts to ensure that public facing programs and activities, including recipients of federal financial assistance, provide meaningful access to LEP individuals. We welcome the continuing efforts of the US Government to empower its LEP population!

Image: The White House

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