After nearly a year of seeking public comment, the White House has issued the Section 508 Strategic Plan (Based on Section 508 of the US Rehabilitation Act of 1973) to assist with the more efficient implementation of accessible communication regarding Federal government services, for people who live with disabilities.
Below is a list of some of the plan’s major points and the changes Federal agencies will be making as a result.
OBJECTIVE: Increase Section 508 Transparency
- The existing web site resource, Section 508.Gov will be transformed into a one-stop source of information and communication for successful Section 508 management and implementation.
- Federal agencies will now be required to include an accessibility statement on all of their websites. This should include contact information for the agency’s Section 508 program and other best practice accessibility information. A sample can be found at: Section508.Gov
- Clear identification of each Federal agency’s Section 508 leadership and their roles and objectives will be managed by the appointment of a Section 508 coordinator for each agency.
- The CIOC Accessibility Committee will be developing a standard government-wide template for agencies to use in reporting compliance measures.
- Agencies will be required to develop a plan to to complete a baseline assessment of their Section 508 strategies.
- The baseline assessment plans are required to be implemented by December 30, 2013.
- Agencies will share their progress in improving the baseline measures in 3rd quarter of FY 2014.
- The reference manual for Section 508 Coordinators will be refreshed to keep it a relevant and active learning aid.
- Recommendations and plans to make the Buy Accessible Wizard easier to use will be shared.
- Refreshed learning modules for acquisition workforce and requiring officials will be released.
- Internal communication mechanisms to keep Section 508 coordinator and other related staff apprised of Section 508 changes and updates will be developed.
Using This as an Opportunity
The forward motion of the Section 508 Strategic Plan will inevitably shine a spotlight on the accessibility (or inaccessibility) of other websites, software, documents and online venues. It provides us all with the opportunity to investigate our organizations’ accessible best practices and needs and prepare for a more accessible future for everyone.