Lawmakers request overdue 21st Century IDEA guidance for agencies

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Lawmakers want the Office of Management and Budget to issue immediate implementation guidance for agencies on the 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act.

Democratic members of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations are giving OMB 45 days to provide agencies with compliance guidelines for the accelerated use of electronic signatures, website modernization and digitizing forms, they said in a letter sent to the agency Thursday.

Congress passed the 21st Century IDEA in 2018, but the increase in remote work during the COVID-19 pandemic has increased the need for agencies to deliver location-agnostic services to people.

“Because the Trump administration failed to issue statutorily required guidance to assist agency implementation of the law, federal agency implementation has been inconsistent, creating uneven access to the federal government’s essential information and services,” reads the letter, signed by subcommittee Chair Rep. Gerry Connolly, D-Va., and larger Oversight Committee Chair Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., among others. “The intent of the 21st Century IDEA was to accelerate digital modernization at agencies to improve how individuals access federal services, and to increase trust in government while driving down the cost of government operations.”

The 21st Century IDEA requires agencies to upgrade their websites, replace paper-based forms with digital- and mobile-response options, and create plans to expand use of electronic signatures.

All of the law’s deadlines passed without full agency compliance.

“The requirements of this law are intended to give agencies the tools needed to deliver a world-class digital experience to the public and federal employees,” reads the letter. “While we believe the law effectively clarifies and defines what is expected of agencies in complying with the 21st Century IDEA, guidance from OMB is needed to harmonize the various requirements of the law with other administration initiatives.”

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21st Century IDEA, coronavirus, customer experience (CX), Office of Management and Budget (OMB)
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