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Secure commitment to accessibility from the executive office

Secure commitment to accessibility from the executive office


Edited by Hardik Bhatt, Chief Information Officer, Department of Innovation and Technology; Karen Tamley, Commissioner, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, City of Chicago. Contributors: Danielle DuMerer and Matthew Guilford, Department of Innovation & Technology; Laurie Dittman and Joseph Russo, Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities, City of Chicago

Cultural and administrative change begins at the top, and accessibility is no exception. To be successful, accessible technology programs should be sanctioned by the jurisdiction's chief executive officer and championed by senior managers. Mayors, city managers, town managers and other local government chief executives should demonstrate a strong commitment to accessibility by making a formal, binding commitment to the program. This may be done by passing legislation, promulgating a regulation or issuing an executive order, policy statement, or other memorandum that establishes a formal mandate for the program. It should be designed to accommodate changes in technology and organizational resources that occur over time, while providing specific guidance to employees and contractors through use of detailed technical standards and procedures.

The chief executive's vision for inclusiveness should be marketed internally to all employees, and should make clear that accessible technology is a core value of the organization. This message should be reinforced by all cabinet members and business unit heads. In situations where IT capabilities are federated or distributed throughout the organization, the chief technology executive-usually a chief information officer, chief technology officer, or director of information technology-plays an especially important role in ensuring that business-process owners and technologists implement more accessible offerings.