Agencies need strong leadership to guide Section 508 compliance activities and to minimize legal exposure. The OMB Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act outlines actions agencies need to take to increase transparency, strengthen accountability, and improve collaboration regarding accessible EIT. This plan calls for clear policies and governance on robust training and strong accountability for Section 508 requirements including clearly defined roles and responsibilities, compliance auditing at all levels and visible feedback to all on the results. It emphasizes "a long-term, consistent approach” to managing Section 508 dictating sound leadership from:
- Heads of Federal Agencies to ensure agency-wide Section 508 awareness and focus.
- Agency Chief Information Officer (CIO) to ensure Section 508 accessibility considerations are incorporated into the planning, operation, and management of any ICT that is developed, used, or maintained by the agency.
- Agency Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO) to ensure that procurement of new ICT products and services comply with Section 508 requirements.
ICT accessibility is a strategic outcome identified in the White House strategy on Digital Government.
Agency Chief Information Officer (CIO)
- Establish the agency Section 508 program, provide leadership of the program, and appoint the agency Section 508 Coordinator.
- Ensure Section 508 accessibility considerations are incorporated into the planning, operation, and management of any EIT that is developed, used, or maintained by the agency.
- In collaboration with agency CAO, ensure Section 508 is considered in EIT procured by the agency.
Agency Chief Acquisition Officer (CAO)
- Responsible for agency performance of acquisition activities and acquisition programs, to include development of the agency’s acquisition workforce.
- In collaboration with the CIO, ensure Section 508 requirements are incorporated into any EIT that is procured by the agency.
Section 508 Coordinator (Section 508 Program Manager)
Manage an agency Section 508 program on behalf of the agency CIO, to include developing and maintaining
agency policies, guidebooks, and disseminating best practices.
- Provide consultation to, or participate in, agency capital planning and/or business case development and IT
governance to ensure EIT appropriately considers Section 508 across the IT and acquisition lifecycles.
- Partner with other Section 508 Coordinators throughout the Federal Government to assist in meeting Section
508 goals and objectives
Consider additional detailed responsibilities as provided for in the GSA Resource Manual for Section 508
coordinators which will be located and maintained at Section 508.gov
Tools, Guidance, and Resources
- Section 508 Leadership Core Competency Model: discussed by the CIO Council at Section 508 Leadership Core Competencies, this framework identifies five key roles in a successful Section 508 program. [pdf]
- Top Ten Things CIOs Should Know about Accessibility: discussion from the CIO Council Accessibility Community of Practice.
- 10 Things Your Agency Can Do to Improve Compliance with Section 508: guidance on actionable steps from GSA. [docx]
- Role and Responsibilities for Agency Executives: guidance from GSA.