Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 614: Establishing the Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board

Date: 07/26/2023
Issuer: Maura Healey
Mass Register: No. 1502
Revoking and Superseding: Executive Order No. 348

Table of Contents

  • On the 33rd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Governor Healey issued an Executive Order creating a new Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board, the position of Chief IT Accessibility Officer located in the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security, and appointing Accessibility Officers within each Executive Office. 

  • WHEREAS, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is dedicated to ensuring all persons have equitable access to government services and to information about the Commonwealth’s activities; 

    WHEREAS, it is the responsibility and commitment of the Commonwealth to provide a more equitable, inclusive, and meaningfully accessible digital experience for everyone, including those who have disabilities and those who may have difficulty reading or speaking English;  

    WHEREAS, the Executive Office of Technology Services and Security (EOTSS) has a vital mission to ensure that the executive department’s digital services and information are accessible, reliable, and available wherever and whenever needed;

    WHEREAS, pursuant to Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 7D, EOTSS is charged with supervising all executive department activities related to information technology (IT), including digital services and information, and the executive department must adhere to IT policies, procedures, and objectives established by EOTSS; 

    WHEREAS, EOTSS is committed to building a Digital Accessibility and Equity Program for the executive department that is proactive and innovative, that meaningfully improves access for all, and that provides a single, comprehensive framework for meeting digital accessibility and equity requirements; 

    WHEREAS, the Chief IT Accessibility Officer (CIAO) of EOTSS is charged with solidifying the Commonwealth’s commitment to digital accessibility and equity, and centralizing responsibility for digital accessibility within the executive department; 

    WHEREAS, the establishment of a Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board, working in conjunction with the Secretary of EOTSS, the Chief Digital Officer of EOTSS, and the CIAO, will provide the necessary coordination and framework to ensure that digital accessibility and equity standards are aligned across the executive department; 

    NOW, THEREFORE, I, Maura T. Healey, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution, Part 2, c. 2, § I, Art. I, do hereby revoke Executive Order 348 and order as follows:

    Section 1. Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board

    There is hereby established within EOTSS a Digital Accessibility and Equity Governance Board (the “Board”).  

    (a) Purpose. The purpose of the Board is to strengthen and advance digital accessibility and equity within the Commonwealth. The Board shall advise the EOTSS Secretary and the CIAO on all aspects of digital accessibility and equity, including but not limited to: the establishment, adoption, and maintenance of digital accessibility and equity standards, guidelines, and policies; the development of strategies and platforms to promote best practices for digital accessibility and equity; the development, in consultation with other executive branch offices and agencies, of procurement policies, contractual standards, and other related documents to promote digital accessibility and equity; and the consideration of federal funding opportunities for digital accessibility and equity priorities.

    The Board shall establish strategic goals and objectives to support the mission of the Board and shall identify priorities that shall serve as areas of focus for the Board’s work.  

    (b) Membership and Organization. The CIAO shall chair the Board.  The Secretaries of the executive offices, the Governor’s Deputy Chief of Staff for Access and Opportunity, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Commissioner of the Massachusetts Commission for the Blind, and the Executive Director of the Massachusetts Office on Disability, or their designees, shall serve on the Board ex officio.  In addition, the Board shall include appointed members of the public, which appointees shall include individuals with expertise or lived experience with digital accessibility issues.  Each public member shall be appointed by the Secretary of EOTSS and shall serve at his pleasure, in an advisory capacity and without compensation, for a term of two years.  

    The Board shall meet at least four times each year or more frequently as determined by the Chair The Board shall seek input on its work from state agencies that provide resources, services, or guidance for people with disabilities.  The Board shall provide a written report every year to the Governor which shall summarize the Board’s work, methodology, and findings, and which shall provide recommendations on each of its priorities.  

    The Chair may convene working committees as needed, which may be comprised of members of the Board and non-members drawn from groups and organizations committed to addressing issues of digital accessibility and equity. All working committees shall be chaired by a member of the Board designated by the Chair.  Working committees shall meet from time to time, as scheduled by the Chair or the Chair’s designee.

    Section 2. The Chief IT Accessibility Officer and Secretariat IT Accessibility Officers

    (a) Chief IT Accessibility Officer. The CIAO shall, at the direction of the Secretary and in consultation with the Board, develop and implement the mission, vision, and guiding principles of a Digital Accessibility and Equity Plan for executive department offices and agencies.  

    (b) Secretariat IT Accessibility Officer. The Secretaries of the Executive Offices shall each, in consultation with the CIAO, appoint a well qualified person to serve as the Secretariat IT Accessibility Officer (SIAO) who shall work directly with the CIAO of EOTSS.  The SIAO shall be responsible for managing the implementation of digital accessibility and equity guidelines and directives within the Secretariat and each agency or office within the Secretariat.  The SIAO shall work directly with their Secretary and the CIAO to develop Secretariat-specific plans to advance the policies established by EOTSS in consultation with the Board.  Each SIAO shall track, coordinate, and manage all activities concerning digital accessibility and equity within their executive office.  Each SIAO shall also develop a specific digital accessibility and equity adoption program for their respective Secretariat to align with the CIAO’s Digital Accessibility and Equity Strategic Plan.

    (c) Policies and Standards. The CIAO, in consultation with the Chief Digital Officer of EOTSS and the Board, shall serve as the principal authority for promoting compliance with effective policies, rules, guidelines, directives, timelines, metrics, and reporting practices for all executive department agencies and offices to ensure that digital accessibility and equity initiatives are consistently met.

    (d) Track Metrics. The CIAO, in conjunction with the Board, shall design and implement a mechanism to track and report digital accessibility and equity metrics for Commonwealth agencies. The metrics shall be displayed on a public facing dashboard, developed by EOTSS to encourage accountability and transparency regarding digital accessibility and equity. The SIAOs, at the direction of the CIAO, shall be responsible for tracking, maintaining, and reporting digital accessibility and equity metrics from their respective Secretariats, as determined by the CIAO. 

    (e) Training. The CIAO, in consultation with the Board, shall assess the current digital accessibility training requirements for executive department employees with responsibility for digital content and, in collaboration with Massachusetts Office on Disability and the Human Resources Division, develop and implement a Digital Accessibility and Equity Training Plan that may establish new training or continuing education requirements for such employees.   

    Section 3:  Extending the Whole of Government Approach to Additional Governmental Offices

    Independent agencies and authorities, public institutions of higher education, other constitutional offices, the judiciary, and other public entities are encouraged to work with the Board to participate in the IT accessibility initiatives of the executive branch and otherwise to adopt policies consistent with those advanced by the Board. 

    This Executive Order shall take effect immediately and shall continue in effect until amended, superseded, or revoked by subsequent Executive Order.

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