The General Services Administration will start a council of agency Web and digital directors by Dec. 8, according to a memorandum from Federal Chief Information Officer Tony Scott.

The memorandum establishes a governance structure that will help agencies comply with Federal laws and policies regarding digital services and websites. Every agency must develop a plan for governing its digital services and post it on the Federal government’s digital strategy webpage. This way, digital services will be available and an integral part of each government agency.

Agencies must use analytics and feedback to manage its Web services by participating in the GSA’s Digital Analytics Platform (DAP). GSA plans to track agency compliance through the DAP by posting its findings on the DotGov Dashboard.

The memorandum states that agencies must make information searchable and discoverable by including a search function on their websites and ensuring that all public information can be found through the search function.

Agencies must provide open data that increases public participation in government and transparency. Agencies must also provide access to government information on multiple devices by ensuring that their websites perform equally well on phones, tablets, and laptops.

Agency websites must protect user privacy by disposing of personally identifiable data or disclosing all of the information regarding what the agency will use that data for. Each agency must maintain a Privacy Program Page that clearly displays its privacy policy on the agency’s main website and through links on any other agency affiliated website.

The memorandum says that agencies must create information security and privacy controls by following policies laid out in OMB Circular A-130. Agencies also should use only approved domains, comply with third-party website and application requirements, and secure connections through HTTPS, which includes encryption.

Agencies must ensure information quality and accuracy by being truthful, transparent, establishing a review process before information is released, identifying external links on their websites, and posting information quality guidelines.

The policy requires that agencies guarantee access to digital information to individuals with disabilities, comply with records management, use plain writing, provide multilingual content, and ensure access to mandatory content as outlined in the memorandum.

Websites need to be updated to Internet Protocol Version 6 to make sure that their technologies remain up to date. The Federal government must also ensure that there’s a consistent design across agency platforms.

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Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch
Morgan Lynch is a Staff Reporter for MeriTalk covering Federal IT and K-12 Education.