Justice ready to release survey on Section 508 compliance

The Justice Department by the end of this week will release to agencies the 2003 Section 508 survey, marking the best opportunity to gauge governmentwide success at meeting accessibility requirements.

'When we did the 2001 survey, it was three months after the requirements took effect, and it really was too early for a survey,' Ken Nakata, a senior trial attorney for Justice who is in charge of this effort, said today at the IDEAS Conference in Washington. 'This is the first real opportunity to measure agency compliance.'

In passing the Rehabilitation Act Amendments of 1998, Congress charged Justice with surveying agency Section 508 compliance every two years.

Justice has yet to release the results of the first survey to agencies because the Office of Management and Budget is reviewing a legislative proposal Justice made in the recommendations, Nakata said.

'It is a minor legislative proposal but significant,' said Nakata, who wouldn't comment further on the suggestion.

He said the 2001 results will show agencies still are having problems with making Adobe Portable Document Format documents compliant. Most agencies, though, are doing a pretty good job in meeting the requirements.

The new survey will focus on procurement policies and actions as they relate to 508.

'Because 508 is enforceable for only new IT procurements, it makes sense to assess compliance when agencies are buying systems,' Nakata said. 'We are asking agencies to do a post mortem on several completed procurements to see how 508 was incorporated.'

Justice also is asking agencies to review their 30 most-visited Web pages and whether agencies have received Section 508-related complaints or contract protests.

Nakata said agencies will have about 90 days to complete the survey.

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