- What is the IT Accessibility Policy Framework (the framework)?
The IT Accessibility Policy Framework (the framework) is a tool created by the Government-wide IT Accessibility Team from the General Services Administration (GSA). The intent of the framework is to assess agency policies for relevancy to digital accessibility, and the level to which policies include applicable accessibility information.
- What is the purpose of the framework?
The purpose of the framework is to assist an agency designated official (either a Section 508 Program Manager/equivalent or another designated individual) determine which policies are relevant to digital accessibility and, of the relevant policies, which have sufficient accessibility information, and which should be improved.
- Do I need to report on whether or not I have used the framework to update applicable policies?
The framework is a best practice tool provided to assess an agency’s policies to improve accessibility within an agency. It is not mandatory and efforts to improve accessibility using the framework do not have to be reported to GSA (though the team would appreciate feedback on how to improve the tool).
- What are the different parts of the framework?
The framework consists of content on Section508.gov, including the Introduction, How to Use the Framework, Guidance by Policy Type, and the Policy Review Template. The Guidance by Policy Type section of the site features the potential policy gap and recommended policy language tables (organized by policy type and subtype).
- How am I supposed to use the framework?
Your approach can be broken down into a few steps/phases:
- Collect agency policies
- Determine if policies are relevant
- Evaluate relevant policies against all criteria
- Use the results from the evaluation to prioritize which policies should be addressed first
- Use the recommended language to begin updating language in high priority policies, as possible
- What are the evaluation criteria and what do they mean?
The framework consists of two primary criteria Importance and Sufficiency, with Importance being a combination of two sub-criteria (Relevance and Level of Detail)
- Importance: Rating of the importance/applicability of the policy to digital accessibility. This is made up of two sub-criteria Relevance (rating of how closely the policy aligns to digital accessibility) and Level of Detail (the intended use of the policy within the agency).
- Sufficiency: Rating of adequacy of required Section 508 language within a given policy
- How do I evaluate my policies using the framework?
After determining which policies are relevant to digital accessibility, evaluate each policy for Importance and Sufficiency. We recommend using the downloadable Policy Review Template.
- To which policies at my agency does the framework apply? To which policies does the framework not apply?
Many policies that in some way relate to Information and Communication Technologies could likely benefit from review using this IT Accessibility Policy Framework. See this list of likely policy types to identify which policies should be evaluated.
Your evaluation may frequently encounter policies that, at first glance, may not directly address digital accessibility but, upon closer examination, may contain a relevant aspect of a covered item.
For instance, agency automotive fleet policies may not seem that applicable at first. However, some interfaces with digital systems within vehicles are considered information technology and must be accessible. This is particularly true with newer electric vehicles that rely heavily on driver interface touchscreen displays.
There will be policies that, as a matter of course, will not be relevant to digital accessibility and thus do not need to be assessed. Administrative-type policies often fall into this category (i.e., delegations, official leadership change announcements, organizational restructure/name change policies).
- How can I get assistance with employing the framework at my agency?
Please reach out to our mailbox (Section.firstname.lastname@example.org) to find out more information or get assistance with using the IT Accessibility Policy Framework.
- How can I find copies of agency policies to review?
Oftentimes policies are held in a central location on an agency intranet and/or internet such as a directives or policy library. It could be helpful to reach out to the lead for the policy library(ies) to try to obtain a full listing of policies that could then be evaluated.