OIG Releases Follow-Up of Language Access Ordinance Compliance Audit

The City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) has completed a follow-up to its September 2017 audit of the City’s compliance with the Language Access Ordinance (LAO). Based on the Department’s responses, OIG concludes that the City has only partially implemented corrective actions related to findings.

The 2017 audit determined that the City was not in compliance with the language access requirements of MCC Chapter 2-40. The Mayor’s Office of New Americans (ONA) did not ensure compliance for the seven City departments it deemed fully subject to LAO, nor did it ensure that other departments complied with the Ordinance’s mandate “to the degree practicable.” OIG previously recommended that the Mayor’s Office endow ONA with the power to enforce compliance according to best practices, ensure that the required four-factor analysis is included in developing language access plans, and publicly report on all departments’ language access services, among other things.

OIG concludes that ONA has only partially implemented the corrective actions it committed to in its response to the original audit. Specifically, ONA has identified two more departments—the Chicago Department of Transportation and the Chicago Department of Aviation—it deems subject to LAO, has begun meeting with those departments on a quarterly basis to discuss language access compliance, has provided templates and guidance on language access planning, and has begun identifying areas for improvement of language services.

OIG urges the City to continue implementation of language access improvements, including ensuring receipt of all required departmental language access plans, continuing evaluations of those departments it has identified as subject to full LAO compliance, expanding its evaluations to include obligated departments (most notably the Chicago Police Department), sharing resources with all City departments, and promoting accountability and transparency through public reporting. These actions will improve implementation and compliance but are unlikely to produce robust City-wide LAO compliance until the Mayor and City Council address the fact that the Ordinance gives ONA an enterprise-wide responsibility without the commensurate enterprise-wide authority needed to meet legislative objectives and requirements.

The full report can be found online at OIG’s website: http://bit.ly/LAOFollowUp.

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The mission of the independent and non-partisan City of Chicago Office of Inspector General (OIG) is to promote economy, effectiveness, efficiency, and integrity by identifying corruption, waste, and mismanagement in City government. OIG is a watchdog for the taxpayers of the City and has jurisdiction to conduct investigations and audits into most aspects of City government. If you see corruption, fraud, or waste of any kind, we need to hear from you. For more information, visit our website at: www.igchicago.org.