A digital accessibility catalyst for your next policy refresh

IT Accessibility Policy Framework
May 15, 2023

All too often, digital accessibility is not top of mind for the agency policymakers and information technology (IT) executives who guide federal IT modernization efforts. Consequently, many internal agency policies require updates to align with Section 508 statutory and regulatory requirements. To ease your agency’s effort to update its policies, the General Service Administration’s (GSA’s) Government-wide IT Accessibility Program is excited to present the IT Accessibility Policy Framework.

What is the Policy Framework?

The IT Accessibility Policy Framework helps agencies assess to what extent your agency’s policies should include accessibility information, and whether or not they include the appropriate amount and type of accessibility information. It offers guidance to holistically assess internal policies against standard criteria and how to update IT accessibility language accordingly.

The policy framework organizes policies into three categories:

  • Organizational Purpose and Governing Guidelines that specify the need for creation of additional policies, rules and directives (Strategic Level Document)
  • Office Rules, Policies, and Directives that establish goals, expectations, and management approach (Operational Level Document)
  • Operational Guidance and Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) that provide specific instructions to execute functional tasks (Tactical Level Document)

Why should I use it?

You can promote digital equity for all by directly helping your federal colleagues make IT accessible. Agency leaders and digital accessibility decision-makers must lead the charge in ensuring policies at all levels include accessibility information for all relevant business functions. Since they play a vital role in executing digital accessibility policy-making strategy throughout all levels of government, managers and change agents who are accountable to leadership directives must also promote digital accessibility. Whatever your role, the policy framework is a catalyst for streamlining policy changes that advance digital accessibility.

What are some of its key features?

  • Standard policy categories mapped to relevant business functions and standard criteria against which to evaluate policies.
  • Instructions on how to prioritize policies for more impactful recommendations.
  • Recommended updates and language that your agency can incorporate into their policies to improve accessibility conformance.
  • The Policy Review Template, a spreadsheet template that can help facilitate internal agency policy review and analysis.

How can I learn more?

For more information, please contact Michael Horton or Alex Wilson at the Government-wide IT Accessibility Program at section.508@gsa.gov.