OMB releases IT accessibility guidance

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In a memo from U.S. Chief Information Officer Steven VanRoekel, the Office of Management and Budget outlined 11 goals to ensure Section 508 technology accessibility regulations are being adhered to.

Co-authored by Federal Procurement Policy Administrator Joseph Jordan, the guidance includes a strategic plan for agencies to follow to make sure Section 508 is included in requirements for the acquisition of technology.

“The Administration is committed to increasing transparency and improving access to government information and data for all people,” the memo said. “This increased transparency requires that information be made available to the public in formats that provide equal access to persons with disabilities. Essential to meeting this objective is ensuring that all electronic and information technology (EIT) that is developed, procured, maintained, or used by the Federal Government is accessible.”

The plan calls for agencies to establish and maintain successful accessibility programs that:

  • Create a diverse environment where individuals of all abilities can work, interact and develop into leaders;
  • Fully integrate accessibility considerations into the processes used in developing, procuring, maintaining and using EIT, and;
  • Build workforce skills to support an environment where Section 508 accessibility requirements are understood, communicated, implemented and enforced.

“Acquiring and managing accessible EIT must be an integral part of the acquisition and information technology lifecycles and needs to be a management priority if we are to continue to fulfill our promise of an open and transparent government,” the memo says. “The information and guidance provided in the strategic plan will help agencies create the framework to make these necessary improvements to their EIT accessibility programs and increase transparency.”

Goals:

  1. The General Services Administration will share with OMB the action plan for transforming www.section508.gov into the one-stop source of information and communication for successfully managing Section 508 implementation throughout the acquisition lifecycle.
  2. Federal agencies will include an accessibility statement on all inter- and intranet websites.
  3. Within 60 days of release of this management plan, each Federal agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) shall provide to GSA, via the section.508@gsa.gov mailbox, the name and contact information for the agency Section 508 coordinator.
  4. By March 1, 2013, the CIOC Accessibility Committee will develop a standard government-wide template for agencies to use in reporting baseline compliance of key measures.
  5. Within 120 days of the CIOC Accessibility Committee’s completion of the template, agency CIOs, in collaboration with agency CAOs, will develop a plan for completing an agency baseline assessment of the Section 508 program. This plan will include either a full baseline or a sampling method that represents high-risk or key areas as identified by the agency. Agency CIOs will share their plans with the CIOC Accessibility Committee to help identify common areas for which collaboration would facilitate completion.
  6. By December 30, 2013, agencies will complete their planned assessment using the CIOC standard template and share the information with the CIOC Accessibility Committee.
  7. Beginning in the 3rd quarter of FY 2014, agencies will share progress in improving baseline assessment measures with OMB.
  8. By June 2013, GSA will refresh the information and the format of the Reference Manual for Section 508 Coordinators to create a job aid for continuous learning and reference for agency EIT accessibility program managers, Section 508 Coordinators, and other relevant personnel.
  9. By June 2013, GSA will share with the CAOC and CIOC recommendations and plans for making the Buy Accessible Wizard (www.buyaccessible.gov) easier to use, current with Access Board standards, and for increasing awareness of this tool among the Federal workforce, particularly those involved in identifying agency and program needs that will be met through procurement of EIT.
  10. By the start of FY 2014, GSA will deliver refreshed Section 508 learning modules for the acquisition workforce and requiring officials.
  11. As the 508 standards are updated, GSA and the Access Board will co-lead collaboration efforts focused on the appropriate mechanisms for sharing updates to the Section 508 standards with Section 508 coordinators and members of the acquisition workforce and those generating requirements.

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Agencies, Departments, General Services Administration (GSA), Government IT News, Joseph Jordan, Management & Budget, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Section 508, Steven VanRoekel, White House
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