Compliance

CIOs told to improve Section 508 standards

key showing accessibility symbol

Editor's note: This story was modified after its original publication to clarify the timing of Section 508.

The Office of Management and Budget recently tasked agency CIOs with improving their agency's Section 508 standards.

Section 508 was added to the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in 1986, then replaced with a new version in 1998. It requires agencies to purchase IT that is accessible to people with disabilities.

Under the new OMB directive, CIOs must:

  •  Establish the agency Section 508 program to provide leadership of the program, and appoint the agency Section 508 coordinator/manager. The appointment is due in March.
  •  Develop a plan for completing an agency baseline assessment of the Section 508 program. The CIO Council's Accessibility Committee will create a template on reporting Section 508 standards related to electronic and information technology. The committee will release the template by March 1. CIOs' responses are due four months after the committee releases the template.
  •  Share with the Accessibility Committee ideas for collaboration among agencies to meet standards in common areas. The response is due after the committee releases its template.
  •  Complete their planned assessment using the CIO Council's standard template and share the information with the Accessibility Committee. It is due by Dec. 30.
  •  Begin sharing progress reports on meeting their standards with OMB. The reporting starts in the third quarter of fiscal 2014.

OMB is bringing attention to the standards because of agencies' slow progress at instituting them.

"Implementation of Section 508 across agencies is not consistent, and a more comprehensive approach is needed to build and sustain an accessible federal technology environment," OMB wrote.

About the Author

Matthew Weigelt is a freelance journalist who writes about acquisition and procurement.

Featured

  • Workforce
    By Mark Van Scyoc Royalty-free stock photo ID: 285175268

    OPM nominee plans focus on telework, IT, retirement

    Kiran Ahuja, a veteran of the Office of Personnel Management, told lawmakers that she thinks that the lack of consistent leadership in the top position at OPM has taken a toll on the ability of the agency to complete longer term IT modernization projects.

  • Defense
    Soldiers from the Old Guard test the second iteration of the Integrated Visual Augmentation System (IVAS) capability set during an exercise at Fort Belvoir, VA in Fall 2019. Photo by Courtney Bacon

    IVAS and the future of defense acquisition

    The Army’s Integrated Visual Augmentation System has been in the works for years, but the potentially multibillion deal could mark a paradigm shift in how the Defense Department buys and leverages technology.

Stay Connected