OMB launches e-guide for Section 508 compliance

The General Services Administration has developed an electronic guide to help agencies comply with Section 508 requirements to make electronic data accessible to federal employees and members of the public with disabilities.

The Office of Management and Budget highlighted GSA's Buy Accessible Wizard in a memo to CIOs and chief acquisition officers that reiterates the importance of complying with Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and directing agencies to technical assistance.

Agencies must follow the Federal Acquisition Regulation for Section 508, including adhering to standards for accessibility by persons with disabilities when purchasing electronic and IT products and services.

"Making the federal government accessible will require continued coordination among agencies, the Chief Acquisition Officers Council, the Chief Information Officers Council and our industry partners," said David Safavian, Office of Federal Procurement Policy administrator, and Karen Evans, OMB e-government and IT administrator, in a letter last week.

GSA's wizard, available at www.buyaccessible.gov, can determine if Section 508 applies to an acquisition, identify which standards apply, develop wording for a procurement solicitation and document the compliance.

Government purchase cardholders may also use the wizard to ensure compliance when making micropurchases, which are no longer exempt from Section 508 requirements, the memo said.

GSA is hosting an industry day Aug. 30 to showcase assistive technologies. More information on best practices and training is available at www.section508.gov.

Mary Mosquera is a staff writer for Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Mary Mosquera is a reporter for Federal Computer Week.

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