GSA Government-wide Section 508 Accessibility Program

Section 508 Program Maturity

In order to address disparities in agency Section 508 program maturity, OMB created a Maturity Model to enhance reporting and spur collaboration among agencies. Federal Section 508 Program Managers (also called Section 508 Coordinators) are responsible for organizing and supporting the implementation of Section 508 within their respective departments and agencies.

Key Principles for Building and Managing an Agency Section 508 Program

  • Leadership is Essential: Programs must have a dedicated 508 Program Leader and must have top management support.
  • Programs Should be Formally Planned and Structured: Section 508 policies, processes and procedures should be established and integrated into agency policies, processes and procedures.
  • Resources are Required: Programs need FTE/contract support and documented technical guidance.
  • Relationships Must be Established: Program leaders and staff need to build relationships with stakeholders to get buy-in.
  • Delegation of Responsibilities is a Practical Realty: Some Section 508 activities can be conducted by agency staff, others need to be reviewed and approved by Section 508 Program staff, while some can only be conducted by 508 staff.
  • Program Location is Important: Section 508 Programs need to be located in the part of the organization which most influences IT decisions.
  • Governance is Important: Tap into existing IT Governance bodies wherever possible (life cycle, change control, IT acquisition review, etc.), establish and track Section 508 goals and metrics.
  • Testing is Important: Programs should have the ability to validate accessibility claims through testing.
  • Awareness is Critical: Programs should provide adequate training and actively engage in communications and outreach activities throughout their agencies.
  • Collaboration is Key: Programs should collaborate with the larger federal 508 community and participate in supporting each other.

Key Elements of an Agency Section 508 Program

Acquisition
Conduct validation of procurement solicitations to ensure incorporation of Section 508 contract language into Statements of Work and Performance Work Statements.
Agency EIT life cycle activities
Conduct validation of Section 508 requirements to ensure incorporation into Agency EIT life cycle activities, including enterprise architecture, design, development, testing, deployment, and ongoing maintenance activities.
Testing and Validation
Testing and validation of Section 508 conformance claims.
Complaints Process
Track and resolve incoming Section 508 complaints.
Training
Training for stakeholders on roles and responsibilities related to Section 508 compliance.

The maturity of each of these elements should be assessed, and must be periodically reported to OMB. There are four levels of Program Maturity:

  • Level 1: Ad Hoc: No formal policies, process or procedures defined.
  • Level 2: Planned: Policies, processes, and procedures defined and communicated.
  • Level 3: Resourced: Resources committed and/or staff trained to implement policies, processes, and procedures.
  • Level 4: Measured: Validation is performed; results are measured and tracked.

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