The EOC Welcomes the Release of the Ombudsman Report on Government’s Arrangements for Engaging Outside Interpretation Services
The Equal Opportunities Commission (EOC) welcomes the release of the Direct Investigation Report by the Office of the Ombudsman on Government’s Arrangements for Engaging Outside Interpretation Services yesterday (22 July 2021).
In its interactions with racial minority communities, the issue of accessing timely and quality interpretation services with ease is frequently brought up. The EOC is pleased that the report focuses attention on critical areas that include establishment of a central database of outside foreign language interpreters, service procurement process and code of practice for foreign language interpreters.
The Administrative Guidelines on Promotion of Racial Equality promulgated by the Constitutional and Mainland Affairs Bureau require that appropriate language services be provided to service users of different races so they can have equal opportunity to access and benefit from public services. It is expected that the recommendations in the report will help towards improving the delivery of interpretation services thereby enhancing access to services as set out in the Administrative Guidelines.
EOC Chairperson Mr Ricky CHU Man-kin said, “Access to public services is the right of everyone in Hong Kong. Language and cultural barriers should not preclude anyone from receiving these services and public authorities should strive to provide appropriate language assistance to those who may face such obstacles. The Ombudsman report gives valuable recommendations on improving the efficiency of procuring, managing and dispensing interpretation services. We welcome the report and look forward to its adoption by public authorities.”
Equal Opportunities Commission
23 July 2021