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Summary of government language services policies - Municipal

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Summary of government language services policies - Municipalof,OF

     Municipal Association of Victoria

     Culturally Equitable Gateways Strategy

     Summary of

     Commonwealth and State

     Language Services Policies and Resources

     to inform and support councils’ development or review of

     language services policies in aged care / HACC

    December 2005

Contents Page

1. What are language services? 3

2. Language services policies 3

3. Elements of good language services policy 4

    4. Overarching Commonwealth and State diversity and language services policies 5

5. Supporting resources, policy and practice 8

    6. Interpreting and translating services and credit lines 11

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 2 of 15

1. What are Language Services?

    The Department of Human Services language services policy defines language services as: “Today in Victoria there are over “language services includes the following tools for communicating with

    people who speak little 180 languages and dialects ranging or no English, or whose first language is Auslan (Australian Sign Language): from established languages like

    Auslan, Arabic and Greek to newer ; the use of accredited interpreters;

    ; the provision of translated materials; languages like Dinka and Oromo.

    ; employing staff who can provide services to clients in a language other than English; One in five Victorians use a ; using multilingual staff to provide limited interpreting.” (DHS Language services policy 2005) language other than English at

     home” (DHS Language services

     policy 2005) “Improving the way we use interpreting and translation services is an important 2. Language Services Policies step toward meeting the Government’s

     commitment to diversity, and ensuring Language services policies provide organizations with a guide to ensure the all Victorians are able to access the implementation of consistent and appropriate approaches, procedures and practices in

    information and services they need to communicating with people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and people whose first language is Auslan. fully participate in the Victorian community”. (VOMA - A Guide to An effective language services policy should:

    Victorian Translation and Interpreting ; comply with other diversity initiatives

    ; embrace a whole-of-organisation response Services)

    ; be integral to continuous service response improvements.

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 3 of 15

Overarching Commonwealth and State diversity and language services policies are summarized in Section 4 to give the broader context for

reviewing, enhancing, and/ or developing local government language services policies.

Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 4 of 15

    3. Elements of good language services policy

; Whole-of-organisation approach to developing policy

    ; Consistency with over-arching government and organizational diversity policies

    ; Encompasses obligations under legislation and funding arrangements

; Demonstrates a sound understanding of why there is a policy

; Provides a framework and clear definitions for realistic and clear guidelines for implementing good practice including:

    o the requirement to use accredited interpreters

    o the role of bi-lingual staff

    o how to identify when an interpreter is required

    o identifies when an interpreter “must”, “should” and “may” be used

    o what to do when a professional interpreter is not available

    o what to do when a client refuses an interpreter

    o procedures for translating resources

Implementation includes: Policy linked to budgets, business and operational Review and plans. Policy promoted to continuous staff to inform practice. improvements.

    Ongoing monitoring and Resources in place reporting on to support policy implementation and implementation. outcomes.

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 5 of 15

    4. Over-arching Commonwealth and State diversity and language services

    policies

     Key Policy Documents Key Language Services Components Availability

     1998 “Charter of Public Service in a

    www.immi.gov.au/mul;ticultural/-Culturally Diverse Society” inc.publications/charter/charter.htm An over-arching framework with seven Over-arching communication policy principles for the delivery of culturally ? Principle 3- Communication: responsive government services. Charter has Adequate language services required for been endorsed by Commonwealth, State, equitable access. Territory, and Local Governments. www.immi.gov.au/multicultural/austr“Multicultural Australia: United in alian/index.htm Diversity” Informed by the charter, it updates the New Agenda for Multicultural Australia: Directions

     for 2003 2006

     “Services for All” Promoting Access and Commonwealth Equity in Local Governments - Australian Local Government Association 1999 www.alga.asn.au/documents/servic ?Includes strategies for effective esForAll.pdf Encompasses the Charter principles and communication. access and equity strategies and policies for local governments.

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 6 of 15

Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 7 of 15

     Key Policy Documents Key Language Services Components Availability

“Valuing Cultural Diversity2002

     ?Language services central to core Victorian Office of Multicultural

    Victorian Government Policy with core principles Affairs principles for promoting cultural diversity ?Promotes having systems and Department for Victorian

    Valuing diversity, Reducing inequality, procedures that will enable access Communities Encouraging participation and Promoting ?Promotes using appropriate media and

    benefits of diversity. promotional channels to ensure www.voma.vic.gov.au

     information reaches all

“Whole of Government Multicultural

    Affairs Policy”

Incorporates Government’s Multicultural ?Departments and agencies required to

    Communications Policy, whole of government commit a minimum of 5% of campaign www.voma.vic.gov.au reporting requirements and the Multicultural advertising to ethnic media.

    Commission Act. Victoria

“Improving the Use of Translation and ?Detailed practical policy and

    Interpreting Services A Guide to procedures guide covering all areas of

    Victorian Government Policy and language services. www.voma.vic.gov.au Procedures” April 2003 (Further details listed in Resource Section

     page 8)

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 8 of 15

     Key Policy Documents Key Language Services Components Availability

2004 DHS “Cultural Diversity Guide” Using language services to best effect

     section includes: Diversity Unit ( Formerly the

    ?Language services are critical to Over-arching policy and practice guide for the Multicultural Unit)

    Department of Human Services and its ensuring equitable access Department of Human Services

    ?Employing bilingual workers funded agencies.

    ?Professional language services an Includes advice and examples to support www.dhs.vic.gov.au/multicultural/indhuman services in meeting access and essential component of effective service ex.htm

    equity. Includes strategies and examples of delivery.

    good multicultural practice. (Further details listed in resource Section

     page 8)

2005 DHS “Language Services Policy”

     DHS funded agencies encouraged to Policy and Strategic Projects Guide to the implementation of the policy with develop agency specific languages Division

    minimum requirements and key strategies to services policies and procedures. Department of Human Services

    ?Where possible use accredited ensure that people with low-level English

    proficiency or people who use Auslan, have interpreters and translators. www.dhs.vic.gov.au/multicultural/

    ?Multilingual staff may be used to access to services.

    communicate basic information to client DHS Victoria ?3 minimum requirements for DHS

    programs and funded agencies outlined ?Effective language service policy

    should supplement other diversity

    initiatives.

    (Further details listed in Resource Section

    page 8)

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 9 of 15

    5. Supporting Resources

     - some of the most recent relevant resources available on line to support language services policies and practice.

     Key Language Services Resources Availability

    Policy guide for DHS programs and funded agencies. Outlines policy “Language Services Policy”

    on: Department of Human Services

    March 2005 ? agencies language services requirements

     ? legal responsibilities

    ? minimum requirements www.dhs.vic.gov.au/multicultural/ Policy ? critical points for language service provision

    ? practical examples and resources and decision trees

    Policy, strategies, and a quick reference guide to: “Improving the Use of Translating and

    ? Victorian government policy and procedures Interpreting Services: A Guide to Victorian

    ? How to plan and deliver interpreting and translation services Government Policy and Procedures”

    ? Legal Obligations April 2003

    ? Situations when interpreters “must”, “should” and “may” be used

    ? Organising translations Victorian Office of Multicultural Affairs

     www.voma.vic.gov.au

    Guide includes using language services to best effect. Practical “Cultural Diversity Guide” DHS 2004

    examples include:

    ? Key strategies Diversity Unit

    ? Good examples of agencies/organizations good practice Department of Human Services

    ? Employment of bi-lingual workers www.dhs.vic.gov.au/multicultural/index.htm Policy and practice

     Summary of Commonwealth and State Language Services Policies and Resources Page 10 of 15

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