Latest 508 survey released

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Section 508

The Justice Department's 2003 Section 508 survey has been approved and should be made to the public by the end of the week, officials said today.

The updated survey differs from past versions by taking a strong focus on the area of procurement, Justice representative Ken Nakata said. The survey will measure agency compliance in actions taken throughout the procurement process, Nakata said.

He also stated that the final version, pending a few unspecified, minor editorial changes, would closely mirror the draft version released in May.

Officials use the survey to measure compliance with 508 guidelines. Section 508 was enacted in 1998, when Congress amended the Rehabilitation Act to require federal agencies to make their electronic and information technology accessible to people with disabilities. The 508 law says agencies must give disabled employees and public citizens comparable access to information that is available to nondisabled citizens.

The survey will be completed on a component-level basis for each agency, Nakata said. A designated agency official at each department will oversee the process, ensuring that each section responsible for procurement, Web development and the handling of complaints completes the survey section applicable to their function.

These components can opt out of sections on the survey that are not applicable to their function, said Nakata, who added that federal government can be incredibly unorganized or unstructured. This was done to help alleviate some of the massive overlapping of duties that can occur within large agencies.

Nakata anticipates a response time from agencies within 90 days. He also said the final report from the 2001 survey has still not been completed.

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