On January 24th, 2013 the Obama Administration published a memorandum from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) containing the Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act. The plan provides overall guidance from the OMB directing Federal government agencies to speed the implementation of the Section 508 requirements. As part of that, the memo directs CIOs of Federal agencies to implement a variety of activities. What follows is a list of those core activities:
Publish an Accessibility Statement – The strategic plan directs all Federal agencies to include an accessibility statement on all websites – public or intranet. Good accessibility statements include a variety of content but the memo focuses on three minimum items: (i) contact information for the Section 508 program, (ii) date of the last update for the statement and (iii) providing a method for site users to provide comments and feedback on the agency’s Section 508 program.
Name a 508 Coordinator – Each agency CIO must send the name of the Section 508 coordinator for the agency to the GSA by March 25th, 2013. Thereafter, if the Section 508 coordinator changes, the agency CIO must notify the GSA within 90 days.
Assess Your Section 508 Program – By March 1, 2013, the Federal CIO Council is directed to publish a standard template for reporting key compliance measures for Section 508. This will include measurements of agency website compliance and agency procurement processes. In response to that, agency CIOs are required by June 29th, 2013 – or 120 days after the template above is developed – to develop a plan for completing an agency baseline assessment of the Section 508 program. This plan, in turn, must be completed by December 30, 2013, and the results of the assessment shared with the CIO Council’s Accessibility Committee.
Starting in Q3 of fiscal 2014, agencies will also be required to share progress with OMB on improving baseline assessment measures – those developed as part of the Assess Your Section 508 Program activities.