Limited English Proficiency Plan

How Do I Know if I am an LEP Individual?

The Department of Transportation defines Limited English Proficient (LEP) Individuals those who do not speak English as their primary language and/or who have a limited ability to read, write, speak, or understand English “less than very well”. LEP individuals may be competent in English for certain types of communication (e.g., speaking or understanding), but still be LEP for other purposes (e.g., reading or writing).

Determining Need

As a recipient of Federal funding, the RPO must take reasonable actions to ensure access to the information and services it provides is available for LEP individual(s). Federal law provides a “Safe Harbor” provision so that recipients can ensure that organizations comply with their obligations to provide written translations in languages other than English.  A “safe harbor” means that if an organization provides written translations, such action will be evidence of compliance with the organizations written translation obligations under Title VI. The failure to provide written translations under the circumstances does not mean there is noncompliance, instead provides a guide for recipients that would like greater certainty of compliance than can be provided by a fact-intensive, four factor analysis. For example, even if a safe harbor is not used, if written translation of a certain document(s) would be so burdensome as to defeat the legitimate objectives of its program, it is not necessary. Other ways of providing access, such as effective oral interpretation of certain vital documents, might be acceptable under such circumstances.

Evidence of compliance with the organizations translation obligations under “safe harbor” includes providing written translations of vital documents for each eligible LEP language group that constitutes 5% or 1,000, whichever is less, of the population of persons eligible to be served or likely to be affected or encountered.  This safe harbor provision applies to the translation of written documents only. It does not affect the requirement to provide meaningful access to LEP individuals through competent oral interpreters where oral language services are needed and are reasonable.

The four factor analysis for determination.

  • Factor 1: The number and proportion of LEP persons in the eligible service area;
  • Factor 2: The frequency with which LEP persons encounter RPO programs;
  • Factor 3: The importance of the service provided by RPO programs;
  • Factor 4: The resources available and overall cost to the RPO.

Where can I find RPO material in My language?

North Central RPO makes all published plans available to the public on their website at Locate the translate button on the bottom right of the page.  Generally, under the Executive Order, entire websites do not need to be translated. Only the vital information within the website needs translated if it is determined that a “significant number or percentage of the eligible population needs services or information in a language other than English.” To avoid potentially underserving a member(s) of the region, the North Central RPO has made all public plans available for translation on their website using Google translation services.


Limited English Proficiency Plan