July 30, 2008
In Reply Refer To:
1261 (560) P
Instruction Memorandum No. 2008-163       
Expires: 09/30/2009   
To:                  ADs, SDs, and CDs
                        Attn:  All State CIOs and Procurement Chiefs
From:               Assistant Director, Information Resources Management (IRM)
Subject:           Ensuring Compliance with Section 508 the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, (29 U.S.C. 794d) Standards When Acquiring Federal Electronic or Information Technologies (IT) Investments
Program Area: Section 508, Federal Electronic and IT Investments
Purpose: This Instruction Memorandum (IM) implements policy contained in the Department of the Interior (DOI) guidance Release 2008-03 (Attachment 1).
Policy/Action: In accordance with the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), Section 508 standards must be included in all solicitation documents involved in any manner with the procurement of Information Technology (IT) goods and services.
Timeframe: This guidance is effective immediately.
Budget Impact: Minimal

Background: In November 2007, OMB, released guidance reminding Federal Agencies to consider Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, 29 U.S.C. 794d, when drafting solicitations that require the purchase of Electronic or IT investments. The Act, in conjunction with the FAR, requires agencies to ensure 508 compliance is part of the procurement planning process unless an exception applies and is documented. Consideration of Section 508 standards must be a standard part of federal procurement planning process, market research, and requirements definition. Section 508 ensures that Federal Agency employees with disabilities have access to and the use of information and data needed to perform their jobs, thus reducing barriers to job success and mobility. Section 508 also ensures that members of the public with disabilities have the ability to access government information and services. This IM serves as a reminder to IT and acquisition workforce personnel of their collaborative roles in this area.

Procurement and IT personnel may use the resources available on the Internet at www.buyaccessible.gov, to guide them in conducting acquisitions that are Section 508 compliant. The site offers documentation of the needs assessment phase in a general acquisition process consisting of Section 508 Relevance, Section 508 Market Research, and Market Research Analysis (Commercial Non-Availability Determination). 

Free on-line training is available at www.Section508.gov for a more in-depth understanding of Section 508. The “Quick Resource Guide” to Section 508 is available to assist federal agency making informed decisions about Section 508 related acquisitions by accessing the http://www.accessibilityforum.org/paper_tool.html.
Manual/Handbook Sections Affected: This IM affects the “BLM Corporate Metadata Repository (CMR) Best Management Practices for Incorporating E&IT Section 508 into IT Projects” Version 1.0, dated January 16, 2002. The document provides instructions relating to IT disability accessibility for each phase and stage of an IT development project.  
Coordination: This IM was coordinated among WO-500, WO-800, and the NOC.
Contact: If you have any questions, please contact the BLM Section 508 Coordinator, Ms. Laura F. Bell, at (202) 452-5013. 
Signed by:                                                                   Authenticated by:
Ronnie Levine                                                             Robert M. Williams
Assistant Director                                                       Division of IRM Governance,WO-560
Information Resources Management
1 Attachment: