Important governmentwide initiatives and resources have developed out of the legislative and executive branches’ efforts to advance ICT accessibility in the federal government.37 While OMB, GSA, Access Board, and DHS have led many of these efforts, the governmentwide relevance of ICT accessibility has drawn in many agencies to further the cause. These efforts are detailed below:
Policy and Guidance
GSA established Section508.gov to assist agencies in complying with Section 508. It serves as the central resource for governmentwide ICT accessibility support. GSA’s IT Accessibility Program maintains the website and provides guidance, tools, training, and other information on ICT accessibility to address the needs of persons with disabilities.
Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, as amended, mandates that the Department of Justice (DOJ) issue a biennial report, the Section 508 Report to the President and Congress: Accessibility of Federal Electronic and Information Technology (PDF), on the state of Section 508 compliance across the federal government. The report details common agency challenges and recommendations for Section 508 compliance. This report is intended to complement the Assessment.
Pursuant to OMB’s “Strategic Plan for Improving Management of Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act,” GSA, in coordination with OMB, reports on the maturity of agency Section 508 Programs through the required semi-annual Program Maturity Report (PMR). In consultation with OMB, DOJ, and the CIO Council (CIOC), GSA made PMRs from 2019 to 2023 publicly available on Section508.gov in response to a request (PDF) from the Senate Special Committee on Aging, Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions.
Notably, the Assessment replaces the PMR, which was last issued in Spring 2023, to establish a new baseline for Section 508 compliance reporting. In comparison to the self- designated approach of the PMR, the Assessment aims to provide insights on realistic outcomes that reflect the state of ICT accessibility in the federal government. Consequently, the maturity measures between the two reports are not directly comparable.
- The ACOP is the preeminent governmentwide forum that supports the advancement of ICT accessibility and Section 508 compliance. In coordination with OMB and GSA, the ACOP issues guidance on ICT accessibility best practices, contributes to the development of testing tools and processes, and organizes a variety of subcommittees around the accessibility needs in the federal government.
Technical Assistance, Tools, and Training
Endorsed by Accessibility Community of Practice (ACOP) as an accessibility best practice, the ICT Testing Baseline for Web establishes the minimum technical standards for testing web accessibility in the federal government. It aims to harmonize the disparate accessibility testing methods used in federal agencies through alignment to the ICT Standards and Guidelines using defined standards for conformant web accessibility test processes.
The DHS Trusted Tester Process Version 5 (TT v5) is an ICT Baseline-aligned, manual test process used to determine if web content conforms to the ICT Standards and Guidelines. It is a reliable and consistent approach to determine the extent of web content conformance.
With the EO on “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility in the Federal Workforce” in June 2021, OMB launched the governmentwide DEIA initiative to enhance diversity, equity, inclusion, and accessibility across the federal government. As part of the initiative, OPM provides to agencies to advance accessibility for federal employees with disabilities.
Reviewed/Updated: December 2023